'The Great Water'

Directed by Ivo Trajkov
Picture This!, opens June 17, Quad

Orphans and cinema are old friends, at least since the days of D.W. Griffith and Lillian Gish. Macedonian director Ivo Trajkov's The Great Water opens with an elderly politician, Lem Nikodinoski, being rushed to the hospital, as his mind wanders back to the close of World War II. Yugoslavia's romance with Stalin was in full bloom, and the 12-year-old Lem (Saso Kekenovski) was interned in a re-education camp for the orphaned children of "enemies of the people." There he meets Isak (Maja Stankovska), a boy who dabbles in occult religious practices and challenges the camp authorities. Despite the choppy script and cartoonishly bad villains, what emerges is a compelling tale of the moral compromises a corrupt system demands of even its most unwilling participants. LESLIE CAMHI

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