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THE GREAT WATER
aka GOLEMATA VODA
USA: Picture This!
Cast: Saso Kekenovski, Maja Stankovska, Mitko Apostolovski, Verica Nedeska, Risto Gogovski, Nikolina Kujaca, Meto Jovanovski, Aleksandar Ribak, Vladimir Svetiev, Petar Mircevski, Goce Deskoski, Marina Cakalova, Zoran Popovski, Oliver Trifunov, Rade Serbedzija, Branko Beninov
Director: Ivo Trajkov
Countries: Republic of Macedonia / Czech Republic / USA
Language: Macedonian (English subtitles)
USA: 93 mins
USA Release Date: 1 July 2005 (Limited Release - wider)
USA Release Date: 17 June 2005 (Limited Release)
The attention given to Lem Nikodinoski as he is rushed to the emergency room implies that he is a person of great importance. In this critical moment, while the doctors are fighting for his life, during his near death experience, he goes back to his childhood, at the age of twelve. He re-lives his troubled childhood filled with surreal, magical moments, a time of an eternal battle of the individual against the system.
His is the story about the greatest friendship and greatest betrayal, a story about a conflict between religion and the communist dogma, material and the spiritual world.
World War II had just ended. Young Lem, like so many war orphans, wanders aimlessly through the countryside until caught by communist soldiers and taken to the children's orphanage. A medieval fortress with the biggest walls imaginable, this "dungeon" is where his true hardships begin, as the orphanage is in fact an "ideological" labor camp where the children of the "enemies of the Revolution" are brought to be ideologically "reprogrammed." Here, in the spirit of the great Revolution, the deeds of the Communist Party and The Great God Stalin are glorified.
One day an aristocratic looking 13 year-old boy, Isaac, arrives at the orphanage. From the very beginning it is clear that Isaac is somebody special, somebody who will be the first one with the courage to question authority and stoically endure the brutal consequences of such actions.
Lem is intrigued by Isaac and feels that this new boy might be the solution for his desperation. He sets out to slowly create a bond of friendship with Isaac as his only chance for survival.
From this moment on, nothing in the orphanage will be as before.
THE GREAT WATER is a feature film based on the famous Macedonian novel written by Zivko Cingo and published in the early 70's, at the peak of the Communist regime in the former Yugoslavia.
For the first time light has been shed on the Stalinist period in Yugoslavia (1945-48) and the cruelty of the Communist leadership towards the children of the "enemies of the revolution" in ideological labor camps established after WWII.
This powerful and emotionally moving story was finally transferred to film as an epic saga of friendship and betrayal between two boys, and conflicts between religion, spirituality and political blindness.