Macedonian Culture and Its Audiences: An Analysis of "Before the Rain" by Keith S. Brown

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Academic Books and Articles

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Published in F. Hughes-Freeland, ed., Ritual, Performance, Media (London & New York: Routledge, 1998), pp.160-176.

iThe focus of Anastasia Karakasidou’s work has been the Hellenization of the northern region of what became part of the Greek state in 1912. In the course of her research she has found herself caught up in rhetorics of continuity, ethnic identity and loyalty, as well as debates over academic freedom and publishing policies (Doyle 1996).

iiPublic Culture’s contributors include prominent members of the school of subaltern history, such as Partha Chatterjee and Ranajit Guha, and other scholars of the post-colonial moment, including Pierre Balibar and Nicholas Dirks.

iiiThe movie’s budget was under $3 million. 65% of the funding came from British Screen, (including 20% originally provided by Channel 4, which was then withdrawn): 25% from Noe Prods, a unit of PolyGram France: and the balance of around 10% from the Macedonian Ministry of Culture (West 1995).

ivThe prevalent ideas here described briefly are analyzed in greater detail by Todorova (1994), who claims that they constitute a discourse of “Balkanism.”

vThis section draws on Laura Mulvey’s pioneering work (1992)[1975], which argues that the effect of this alignment of the “gaze” of audience and apparatus is masculinizing, and serves simultaneously to feminize the object displayed for the audience’s pleasure. Her argument stands at the beginning of an extended debate over relations of gender and power implicit in the gaze, and established the importance of making analytical distinctions between the multiple modes in which audiences can engage with images on screen.

viNon-Macedonian reviewers frequently misidentified specific locations, and drew false inferences from the term “Macedonia.” Among the misrepresentations were that the action took place in a Russian monastery, or in Northern Greece. One reviewer presented a bizarre vision by placing the church scenes in the landlocked Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia at the seaside.

viiThis foregrounding of the reproductive medium , in music which is on the soundtrack rather than occurring in the scene, serves to blur the line between extra-diegetic and diegetic. By creating the impression that what we are hearing as audience is what the character is hearing inside his head, the director can be seen again playing with the boundary between the world and the world of the film.

viiiSee further Thiessen (n.d.). Sherbedzija became famous for playing Hamlet in Dubrovnik in 1974. Tito died in 1981, and his death is as mythological within Yugoslavia and Macedonia as that of John F. Kennedy in North America: most people claim to remember where they were when they heard the news. Sarajevo was the spiritual home of much of the best Yugoslav rock music of the 1970s and 1980s, including the most famous of the bands, Belo Dugme. It was also host to the Winter Olympics in 1984. A significant dimension of the shock felt in Macedonia when fighting began in Bosnia was the inability to locate ethnic hatreds in a city that had become synonymous with an easy urban cosmopolitanism.

ixManchevski himself referred to feeling “culturally schizophrenic—and glad about it” (Woodward 1995).

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