Currently a film professor at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Macedonian auteur Milcho Manchevski (Before the Rain) returns to the homeland for his gorgeously phantasmagoric third feature, a prolonged and overemotional take on the putting-lost-souls-to-rest drama (a/k/a “I see dead people, but what else is new?”). Doctor and unhappy family man Lazar “Lucky” Perkov (Borce Nacev) barely survives a car crash and, a year after awakening from a four-day coma, begins encountering bizarre strangers in his Skopje apartment building while his wife and son are away on vacation. An old hag with a pet wolf babbles to Lucky in an ancient Aegean dialect about respectfully returning something, and a grizzled dad with nails in his feet bleeds all over the stairwell while carrying a bawling baby. Most cryptic is the nubile wife/assistant to an academic that Lucky seeks out for translation help, who acts alternately annoyed and aroused by our befuddled hero. But it doesn’t take a film scholar to realize an hour before the script does that she’s not quite who she claims to be. If not for the hypnotic atmosphere, lush cinematography, and frequent, if random, softcore humping, we’d have seen these ghosts before.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 28, 2009