By Aleksandar POPOVSKI


Drama - Completed 2011

It is not a question of freedom or death; it is a question of love or hate.

    • Year of production
    • 2011
    • Genres
    • Drama, Historical
    • Countries
    • Languages
    • Budget
    • 1 - 3 M$
    • Duration
    • 100 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Aleksandar POPOVSKI
    • Writer(s)
    • Aleksandar POPOVSKI, Dejan DUKOVSKI
    • Producer(s)
    • Robert NASKOV
    • Synopsis
    • "Humankind consists of two sexes, female and male. Can the whole be improved by improving only one of its parts while ignoring the other? Is it possible to have one half of the people fettered to the earth and the other half soar to the skies?"
      -- M.K. Atatürk
      A Macedonian family from Bitola at the turn of the twentieth century tries to survive, preserve its roots and remain together. Following their father’s death, two sisters and a brother remain alone: the older and quieter sister ELENI and the younger ANĐA and DUKO – the discontented and rather short-tempered twins.
      Afflicted by her father’s refusal to let her be with the man she loves – the young Turkish cadet, Kemal – Eleni has decided to dedicate her life to waiting. Her younger sister, searching for Damjan, her young fiancé – her brother’s best friend and leader of the insurgents against the Turks – falls captive to the murderous and slighted Osman, a renegade from the Sultan’s authority. Osman becomes enamoured of Anđa and murders Damjan, despite or rather precisely because of the fact that Anđa trades for Damjan’s freedom the only valuable thing she has – her virginity. Broken and unable to give him again what she has already given him, she spends her days in a harem as the most cared for blossom that has lost its fragrance. Duko becomes obsessed with vengeance, while Osman becomes obsessed with love. In order to get Anđa to love him, he would do anything for her. To this end, he also uses his troops and his most loyal “watchdog”, Rasim, his man for the dirty jobs, the sole person who understands him entirely and who is prepared to lay down even his own life for him.
      "Peace at Home, Peace in the World."
      -- M.K. Atatürk
      Torn between her love for one Turk and her hatred for another, Eleni sets out to look for Anđa. From a passive spinster, she becomes a fighter for women’s rights, advocating freedom, a more modern society and abolition of harems…. She communicates her ideas to Kemal in her letters that she never stops sending. These are precisely the ideas to which he dedicates his entire life.
      "Everything we see in the world is the creative work of women."
      -- M.K. Atatürk
      Realising that Osman is afflicted by unrequited love, the jealous Rasim brings a band of actors who are supposed to warn Osman of the peril that awaits him, under the pretence that they are there to entertain and amuse him. They stage a scene in which Osman sees the prophecy of his end. He will marry her and Rasim will turn against him and, from his lover, become his executioner. Osman is certain that the approaching wedding is to turn into a bloodbath and begins to see his friend Rasim as a traitor! Rasim is exiled.
      Unlike Eleni, who attempts to set her sister free using peaceful methods, Duko – once an armchair revolutionary and poet, obsessively in love with his sister – grows into an insurgency leader and revenge killer fighting for the death of all Turks. Under his pressure, at a time when Europe needs to be reassured that there is indeed peace and order in the Middle East, the Sultan uses Osman as a scapegoat and condemns him for the kidnapping of Anđa. At the trial, before the eyes of her brother and sister, Anđa suddenly takes Osman’s side: she is with him on her own will.
      Eleni recognises love between Osman and Anđa. She realises that her sister has managed to grow from a young rebel, forcibly deprived of any purpose in life, into a mature woman who has found within the strength to begin to love a murderer.
      Duka sees Anđa’s voluntary decision to stay with a Turk as an act of ultimate treason. At the hastily organised wedding, while running away from Rasim, the Sultan’s army and Duko’s insurgents, Osman forebodes their gory end.
      The eldest sister Eleni remains alone. She sees Kemal only one more time before she surrenders her life to eternal silence.
      Side plot: Edisse, a French prostitute of the highest class sets out on a journey from Paris to the Sultan who has purchased her and aboard the Orient Express encounters Ikonomo a Macedonian merchant who finances Osman and she falls in love with him. Although he too falls in love with her, he soon realises that these are dangerous times and hands her over to Osman who, in turn, needs to hand her over to the Sultan. There she meets Anđa and her sister Eleni. This is also the only time these three women are at the same place. When Edisse finally reaches the Sultan, he is already dead. She returns to Paris as a witness of as many as three unfulfilled Balkan loves that have fallen victim to the relentless course of the new time, which would eventually be characterised, among other things, by the struggle forequality.