Directed by Teona Strugar Mitevska, drama, 100 min, eng subtitles, 16+
Written by Elma Tataragič, Teona Strugar Mitevska
With Zorica Nusheva, Labina Mitevska, Simeon Moni Damevski, Suad Begovski, Stefan Vujisič, Violeta Shapkovska
Still in the grip of winter, a traditional religious custom takes place every 19th January in Macedonia, in which crosses are thrown into nearby rivers to celebrate the Orthodox Epiphany. Only men are allowed to participate in it. When Petrunija sees a group of young men about to jump into the river and dives in on a whim catching the cross first, all hell breaks loose and the local priest, the police and the enraged men go after her to ask for “their cross” back.
31-year old Petrunija is a single, unemployed historian, who faces all sorts of humiliations in an attempt to “put her in her place” in a town that cramps her free spirit. Retrieving the cross, a symbol believed to bring good fortune and prosperity for the coming year (and sometimes also a TV or a washing machine) might also help her economically deprived family. Finding her way between secular and the religious law, Mitevska’s protagonist challenges a patriarchal society. The film is a satirical treatment of a real event in 2014, when police had to intervene to retrieve a cross that had been grabbed out of the hands of the winner, a female contestant. With an excellent lead performance by Zorica Nusheva, the film is a feminist cry against patriarchal societies, stereotypes and (religious) traditions that are accepted as a matter of course.
The film premiered in the Berlin IFF 2019 and is one of the three finalists for the European Parliament’s LUX Prize.
Berlin IFF 2019 (Official Competition - Prize of the Ecumenical Jur and Guild Film Prize)
Motovun FF 2019 (Best Film , FIPRESCI Prize)
LUX FIlm Prize 2019 (Finalist)