Determined to build the best football club in the country, Dimitry hires the German coach, Rudolph Spitz, to galvanize his rag tag team but - when the first Nazi tanks roll through the city and Rebecca, the beautiful daughter of a local banker, elopes with his star player, all Dimitry's plans must change.
After a quarrel with his wife, a man leaves their apartment with one suitcase only. Having slept in a train station, the police legitimates him and found him suspicious. Soon he'll find ... See full summary »
Stojan 'Stole' Arandjelovic
Macedonia is a small country, in the heart of the Balkans, which for five centuries was under the yoke of the Ottoman Empire. The action of the film "To the Hilt" takes place in the years ... See full summary »
Two nine-year-old girls report a flasher to the police even though they never saw him. Three filmmakers meet the only residents of a deserted village - an elderly brother and sister who ... See full summary »
Two parallel tales of redemption, a century apart. A burglar is held at gunpoint and forced to listen to a story. At the turn of the 20th Century, two brothers feud over a woman. She ... See full summary »
An underpaid train mechanic gives his father a cake made of stolen marijuana to relieve his cancer pain, but he is cornered by the criminals who are searching for their drugs and the nosy neighbors who want a recipe for the "healing" cake.
Marko has a poet's sensibilities in Veles, a town in war-torn Macedonia. His sister is a bully, his mom's a doormat, and his dad is a striking factory worker who drinks and plays bingo. At school, Marko is tormented by thuggish fellow students, led by the loutish Levi, the son of a police captain. Marko's teacher of Macedonian, a Bosnian, sees promise in Marko's writing and gives the lad hope that he can someday escape Veles. A chance friendship with a thief who's passing through town furthers Marko's education. Is hope a mirage? What sort of fatherland is Macedonia?Written by
There are human destinies, stories, situations that we could expect to happen in certain poor Asian or middle American countries. At least this is something we are used to consider "normal", "natural", this was a steady state for decades.
But modern world has brought changes. Not changes like that were brought by 20th century, when American slavery or Dickens' England disappeared. Nothing disappeared with 20th century, on the contrary life that seemed to be reserved for Guatemala, Haiti or Indochina today can be found in Europe.
Life has never been easy in Eastern Europe. During socialism years poverty and hard life were mostly hidden, movie makers were forbidden to show dark side of life (it was impossible to accept that life can be rough in perfect society). Therefore the world never got a realistic view of life in these countries, especially in rural distant regions.
Today there is freedom to show everything - and life hasn't become any easier. In fact, even those rare good qualities vanished, among them hope. Old people accept what life brings as they always have. Adults became resigned, they can't expect even what their ancestors got. But youngsters don't have a picture of old world that had some values of their own, they see world as shown on MTV, they grow up with values brought by commercials, and every time they open their eyes reality makes them despair. And resigned adults don't try to input any other values, cause they don't believe in them either.
"Iluzija" is just one in a line of dark and hopeless stories showing this new world, that globalization gave to Macedonia (or Romania, Moldova, Bulgaria, Bosnia...). Romanian "Maria" tells us a true story of a woman that had to enter world of prostitution (with hints that it is the only destiny her daughter can expect, too); also showing infants been sold to families from the west. "König der Diebe" deals with selling older children to merchants from Germany (though it could be any other rich country) for illegal jobs like stealing and prostitution hidden by pictures and promises for better life. And, tragic as they are, these movies show people both adults and children that still have some hope. "Iluzija" is beyond that: you can't steal because everyone is poor, prostitution is limited to few able to pay (UN soldiers) and you can't even sell children cause there's no one to buy them. So if Barbu and Mimma in "König der Diebe" followed Caruso with enthusiasm and faith, and finally returned home understanding that it is still a safer and better place than promising West, Marko in "Iluzija" dreams of leaving, but everyone who could open him the exit door lets him down from teachers to criminals.
And there is at least a bit of good in most characters in "Maria" and "König", we can't find a single character that we would actually like. Even Marko - we can understand or feel sorry for him, but would you like him to be your neighbour, to be your son's classmate? Life in Macedonia is most likely a bit better than in Romania or USSR countries. Being a part of Yugoslavia Macedonia had some more freedom, and there are some traditions (black wave from Serbia in late 60's) that Macedonian authors can lean on, so they are more sharp and radical than their colleagues from Soviet influence zone. "Iluzija" also shows deep political disruption between old left-wings from Yugoslavia years and right-wing mix of nationalist, pro-American democrats, (rare) new enriched people; and the national split though the only Yugoslavia nation that wasn't in war against Serbia Macedonians have problems with large Albanian minority, and the teacher who is Bosnian is also a suspect, because both Bosnians and Albanians are Moslems... In this society bullying among children seems to be an inevitable consequence. This movie is hard to watch, but the authors must be praised for being brave not to avoid any dark side of life in their (and not only their) country.
One thing to add... If each word would be correctly translated, MPAA would probably let it free to watch for persons over 50. But I don't think English is rich enough. No language contains so many obscene words and idioms as Balkan languages. As much as I've noticed, only cats and dogs didn't use four-letter words in every minute on the screen. Yet this is also the part of reality.
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