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In this movie Manchevski uses the same rationality cliché as in his previous movies. However, in Senki this rationality is more stressed which gives good contrasts in the movie. To illustrate this I shall use some scenes from the movie, since I believe that many of you are familiar with them. Manchevski involves the contrasts between the rational and free, the moral and immoral, the individual and the collective, love and hate. The moral and rational win in the end. In a somewhat subconscious way Manchevski stipulates that the possibility of the origin of all the unhappiness lies behind the disobeying of the moral standards and rules. This can be seen in the beginning of the movie, before the doctor's traffic accident, when the doctor drove after having a fight with his wife, who, on the other hand behaved badly towards her child. She was smoking in front of him and even let the child light her cigarette. In the movie we can see various examples of breaking the moral standards. The doctor aimed to respect the morality, even throwing the money amounting to few thousand Euros because they were given to him as a bribe. He did this to respect one of the Ten Commandments do not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor. He didn't want to steal and he was ready to help people even in the case of the old lady, that he took to the hospital. In other cases other doctors would say I would not bother with her, she is old anyway. Doctor Lazar didn't want to commit adultery as an individual whereas everybody around him did. And, finally when he fulfills the task for the mother the duty given by the church, to bury the bones or else the ghosts would not have peace. Now, a question arises as to where does this sense of morality arise in today's times of high immorality, when the world is in a chaotic state due to sins. Does this glimpse of moral value erupt only at unique individuals who remain heroes in comparison to the other immoral people. Is the source of sin in the fantasies as in the lesbian scene between the doctor's wife and Menka? It seems like Manchevski subconsciously suggests that this could indeed be the source of all evil.
In conclusion, I believe that Manchevski would like to send a message through this movie that we should act humane and according to the moral standards for this world to become a better place
"Senki" follows a story of young doctor Lazar Perkov. Lazar has everything, beautiful wife and child, he's a doctor and he even has a nickname 'Lucky'. Soon Lazar's life changes after he survives a heavy car accident; but nothing seems to be the same as it was. His wife and child don't live with him any more and soon he starts having appearances of strange people who are asking from him do to something. Actually to return something what's not his.
We (viewers) are drawn into the story with ease, cause it is very interesting to wait till the end to found out what is happening with our main character. This movie was made in Macedonia (in Skopje and on some beautiful locations at Ohrid lake) but it could easily pass as American one (Manchevski lives in New York and some people who worked on this one are foreigners). Really, this movie doesn't lack a thing. The most important part is of course directing one, and Manchevski is leading us through this movie with 'safe' hands and you can really see why he is such established director. To return on Macedonia; it seems like Manchevski wanted to show both beautiful and ugly sides of his land. Beautiful scenes at Ohrid lake have their contrast in brutal living habits of some people in Skopje (like the place where Blagojce lives).
In central of attention is our main character Lazar (name has Biblical purpose here, but that is also common Macedonian name) who has these appearances of some people after his accident. Who are they, what do they want from him, how is this all going to end? All those questions makes viewers on the edge of their seats waiting for the end. There is also Lazar's connection with his family (specially with his mother) and his love interest in Menka. What I also liked is great creation of suspense and horror (the old lady in the water and all the appearances of these 'people'). Here Manchevski succeeds to make scary scenes, while we can all see how most of the American so called horror movies are not only dull but what's most important without any fear; and Manchevski's attention was to make psychological thriller like "The Sixth Sense" (which is similar in some points with this movie).
So if you want to see one very interesting story watch this very good third movie from Milcho Manchevski. I hope you won't regret it.
Milcho is a great artist and he knows how to make people laugh or cry... Maybe I really did expect more from him in this movie, like - to show us all drama of Aegean Macedonians from Greek Civil War but I was satisfied with seen after the end of the movie! I liked a little horror in it... sexual scenes were like porn in some moments and that was only irritating thing.
BUT in the end of the movie Milcho was a KING for me!!
But "Senki"? I really don't know what to think after watching it. Maybe I should've written this review sooner, its been a few days now since I saw it. I must say I was surprised seeing that Milcho had made a horror movie. OK, I thought, he sure got talent to deal with that genre... I cant say I'm disappointed, because Before the rain and Dust are just two so perfect movies I could watch them over and over and It'll always be as good as the first time, but I'm not sure thats the case with Shadows. The story indeed is good, and I just love the way Eros and Tanatos dance hand in hand through the movie, but I cant stop thinking this film could've really been good. But it isn't. Somethings missing. The main actor irritated me the most, in the role of Lazar, wasn't at times convincing enough, his expression in some scenes just fits better Spanish soap operas, also his relation to his mother. And what is that stupid scene with the bones in a box at his mothers office and her comment on it? It has some issues that are mind disturbing and food for thought, but generally it looks like a school project of some young wannabe film maker, rather than a movie from the big Manchevski we are used to. It seems kind of to amateurish. Also the choise of music was quite good but the songs were placed in the wrong time. Especially the scene where the main character is making love with a ghost, in the background you hear something like traditional Macedonian/Balcan music...what a disappointment!
The music selection fits nice, but the highlight is the main theme, "Eden Baknez" (in English "One Kiss") which is a Macedonian pop evergreen. The horror moments are successfully done in an old-school fashion, but mind you, it is not a horror movie. I believe that fans of European cinema & fans of Polanski, will like it.
In terms of the plot, Shadows is blatantly plagiarizing Sixth Sense. It is annoyingly similar. The only difference is that there's no twist. We know it all almost from the beginning. Which actually makes it boring. Especially when we get the same shock-effect scene again and again and again.
Now the sex element. Why? We're getting gratuitous sex scenes for no particular reason. Not that I don't like the girls, especially Vesna Stanojevska, but someone should tell our friend Milcho that it has to blend with the plot!
And finally, being from Greece, I have to comment on the "Aegean Macedonians" issue. I couldn't fail to notice some sneaky propaganda attempts in secondary parts of the plot. I mean "exodus" and ...napalm bombs? In ...1913? This is honestly bordering the ridiculous. I could write a whole essay on where these ideas come from (may well be a part of a general nationalistic awakening in our neighbor state), however let me simply mention that the story of "Aegean Macedonians" (a very controversial term by itself) is far more complex than what people are led to believe from this film. I would be grateful if Manchevski left politics and history to people who actually know a thing or two.
Where the director succeeds is in the area of horror. With the desensitization of world cinema audiences to shock horror and gore, this movie actually comes up with some genuinely scary moments, and for that it scores points. There is also an impressive, quirky performance by the actress in the role of Menka, the mysterious young woman with short dark hair that keeps appearing unexpectedly to entice our hero, "Lucky" Lazar.
But it is ultimately silly, and I think most mature moviegoers could think up a better, more interesting premise for the experiences of the main character. Instead, we get a kind of "Sixth Sense Lite". The director throws in some softcore erotica to keep us entertained, but that does not make for a film worth seeing. Not impressive.