Here and elsewhere
by Valentina Di Michele
- An intimate and dreamlike feature unveiled in Berlin and co-produced by Macedonia, France, Belgium and Slovenia
In Veles, a semi-rural village in Macedonia, life revolves around the town’s only factory, which poisons and kills the inhabitants. Three sisters hope every day to leave the village, to search for a different life.
Visibly moved, director Teona Strugar Mitevska thanked the audience for its lengthy applause after the screening of I am from Titov Veles [+see also:
interview: Teona Strugar Mitevska
film profile], presented last year at the Berlin Film Festival in the Panorama section.
"I’m very happy because it took me three years to make this film, which is the first Macedonian film to participate in the Berlinale," she said.
The film tells the story of the sensitive Afrodita (Labina Mitevska), who stopped talking after her mother left and her father died and devotes all her time to her sisters: Slavica (Ana Kostovska), a long-time methadone addict, and Sapho (Nikolina Kujaca), who passes from man to man as she waits to get a visa and leave.
When Slavica decides to marry a very wealthy man and Sapho gets the document that offers her a new future, Afrodita is left alone.
Teona Strugar Mitevska, who graduated in film at New York University’s Tisch School of Arts, said she was inspired by Russian and Italian films in making Leaving Titov Veles. "One of my favourite filmmakers is Antonioni," she added.
As Mitevska still points out, four European countries are behind this film, which is both intimate and extremely dreamlike. "There are many dream sequences in the film but I have real dreams, which are very intense,” she said. “I’m happy because one dream that’s been fulfilled is being here to celebrate the project with a group made up of four nationalities."
Leaving Titov Veles is a co-production between Macedonia’s Sisters & Brothers Mitevski (founded by the director’s sister, the actress Labina, who stars in the film and is known for Milcho Manchevski’s Before the Rain, the Golden Lion winner at Venice in 1994), France’s Silkroad Production, Belgium companies Climax Films and d' Entre Chien et Loup and Slovenia’s Vertigo Film.
The film also received support from Eurimages, the MEDIA Programme, Fonds Sud Cinéma, the Centre National de la Cinématographie (CNC)and the Communauté Française de Belgique. International sales are being handled by Insomnia.
(Translated from Italian)