Every January in a small town in North Macedonia, the high priest throws a cross into the local waters, while dozens of men charge for it. The one who finds the cross is believed to gain overall good fortune and prosperity. An unemployed single young woman Petrunija jumps into the water and catches the cross. In this conservative setting, her competitors feel they have every right to be furious: a woman dared to compete and achieve what they failed to succeed in. Petrunija insists that she is the winner and refuses to return the cross.
I have just watched this movie in Athens and I am very satisfied with it. We were eleven spectators in the theatre during the 20:00 local time screening while rain and wind were raging outside. I had read about the message it seeks to convey and I think it does so very effectively. It is one-sided aligning with progress against religious tradition, obscurantism and male chauvinism. Some of those who uphold religious tradition and patriarchal authority are portrayed very negatively, the equivalent of "church and king" crowds of earlier times. Others such as the priest and some policemen are more ambivalent characters with both negative and positive aspects. Even the TV journalist though who upholds progressivism is not an altogether positive character. The plot is simple: an educated young woman who is nevertheless unemployed performs almost thoughtlessly a symbolic act which puts her at odds with the longstanding conventions and prejudices of a backward society and suffers the consequences. Clearly the movie sides with the open society option against ossified tradition. Not everyone will like this but most people in the West will.
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