Before the Rain

Movie Information

In Brief: I'd never even heard of Milcho Manchevski or his 1994 debut feature film, Before the Rain, until World Cinema programmed it into their mix. That's not too surprising since stark dramas about the Muslim/Christian conflict in Macedonia aren't likely to get much play in the West — even with a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar nomination. It's the kind of film — heavily political, beautifully crafted, cleverly structured, deeply serious (and it makes sure you know it) — where it's easy to see why it garnered awards, nominations and other accolades at the time of its release, and just as easy to see why it has more or less drifted into obscurity in the intervening years. (That Manchevski hasn't managed an equally successful follow-up doesn't help.) Before the Rain — for all its merits — just tries too hard, overshooting its intended profundity and landing in the realm of arty pretension. It wants to be a statement on why the Balkan countries will never be at peace, but it never gets much beyond stating that idea. Its interconnected — and ultimately circular — story fascinates, but once you understand where it's going (early in the second part), it's hard not to guess how each part fits and how each will play out. Is it worth a look? Oh, definitely, but don't be surprised if it doesn't have much staying power.  
Genre: Drama
Director: Milcho Manchevski
Starring: Rade Serbedzija, Katrin Cartlidge, Grégoire Colin, Labina Mitevska, Jay Villiers
Rated: NR

Classic World Cinema by Courtyard Gallery will present Before the Rain Friday, Dec. 18 at 8 p.m. at Phil Mechanic Studios, 109 Roberts St., River Arts District (upstairs in the Railroad Library).  Info: 273-3332,

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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