by Robert Alagjozovski

Introductory Notes

This essay primarily faces a serious difficulty: to explore and study a literary style as the postmodernism is, in a cinematography defined as a small nation's cinematography - namely, a cinematography with a modest year film production, or more accurate, with a obscure opus of films for a working material. And, in order to gain any results on the esthetic structure with an acceptable balance between the theoretical and analytical material, the working "devices" are quite a few. We can incline toward the essay form and to reduce the theory aspects, or to extend (unnaturally) the corpus of the films that presumably incline towards the postmodernism aesthetics. At the start, I must say that I'm against the over-extensive research of the films, out of the frames of their natural and actual characteristics. It always leads an unnecessary confusion within the terminology of the theoretical and poetical models and conventions, and it makes it much more difficult the work of the following researchers - in the future. So, we are going to analyze the postmodernism here upon a very few film deeds that we will pronounce as an explicitly postmodern, and we'll mention, only fragmentarily and "by the way" - some other film works that include within itself some forms of postmodern characteristics.
The nomenclature "small nation cinematography" (I would add: poor nation cinematography) that means one or two films per year (and sometimes even less), makes any kind of a research, especially this one we enterprise. In a situation when all authors, simultaneously posses the creative potential, and in a situation when the practical conditions (the cultural politics and authorities itself) govern and divide (more or less just) the material and financial means required for making a film, it's difficult for an author to create any kind of a regular personal opus of films, with all means required for it: all of the phases and sub-phases, with the thorough research and organization of the exchange and application of any poetic experience - more or less spontaneous - around any aesthetic form. And because of it, there exists a large disproportion within the category of time - as a chronological determinant (to create and develop an individual poetics and to make a concrete opus) and as a creative determinant (the process of creation, fluctuation, experimentation etc.). So, that's why this text can't be anything else (for this time being) than a sketch-portrait useful for some future researches, when the postmodern film opus will be in a more adequate amount for a real research. Also, it wouldn't be a surprise if that doesn't happen at all, because of the discrepancy between the world film development and the domestic film production conditions, and between the esthetical needs of the domestic audience and the real material possibilities of the domestic cinematography. Even now, talking of postmodernism in the film art, as in the other arts anyway, here is "by-gone" thing already.

A Few General Characteristics

Not only because of the reception effect, I'll claim that Macedonia still awaits its first full-postmodern film. None of the existing films here can be defined as a real postmodern film in the very meaning - how we define the postmodernism in real. There is a risomatic, parallel existence of more distinctive characteristics, and by the inclusive logic - "everything passes". That mustn't be understood as an existence of a total anarchism and chaos, but as a convocation principle: the unity of the opposites (coincidentia oppositorum); namely, it should be understood by the negation of the principle of the "excluded third" (the known Aristotle's' Tertium non Datur), with the replacement of the disjunctive logic or/or with the conjunctive and/and logic. The process of the postmodern episteme (the convocation principle and/and) happened in two phases. The first one is the post-structural phase, or as we call it - the first phase, the early postmodernism of emphasized inclusion of the elements that the binary logic of the modernism use to exclude. The second phase, as we call it, is the simultaneous existence of both elements of the binary pair; namely, it presents the forsaking of that binary logic and its replacement with the deconstructive, convocative logic that, by our opinion, speaks of their simultaneous existence. That kind of an existence creates tensions and transformations, differences and paths that aren't placed in the center of the one or in the center of the another, but always somewhere in some accidental or constructed path - concentration that is mobile and decentralized.
The Macedonian postmodern film is still in the early phase of the postmodern experimental, anti-realistic and postmodern level that in global frames happened in the 60's and the 70's, and in the Macedonian literature, for example - in the first half of the 80's. The most explicit Macedonian postmodern authors: Aleksandar Popovski, Darko Mitrevski, Aleksandar Stankovski, and Milcho Manchevski are still much more subversive and destructive than deconstructive and convocative. And that's really weird, I must say, that adolescent author's anger within our most talented filmmakers... Especially because of the fact that they spend large amounts of our taxpayers' money in local, and Manchevski in global frames. And by our humble opinion, the postmodern aesthetics is that magical wonder-stick for the success of the so-called small nation cinematographies. Anyway, that postmodern aesthetics is actually and primarily created to answer and apply the commercial needs of the growing western market, and secondary - to answer to the author's needs and ideas, as a strategy to maintain the survival of the authors faced with the cataclysmic "pulp" raid of the mass-culture. In our conditions, it would be said that the convocation principle and/and could serve well in favor of the cultural politics' goals (political fairness, state and national identity etc.), and along with it, quite subversive, and with sufficiently wise esthetical pace - to introduce the needed individual interests.
Unfortunately, such kind of a film in Macedonia - we don't have, yet. The great success of the Manchevski's film Before the Rain owed that to the over-correct political orientation of the film and to the insufficient author's subversiveness, and his Dust suffers from the very opposite of that - the over-sufficient esthetical subversiveness and the insufficient political correctness, in spite of the aggressive advertising campaign that tried to blur the difference between these two categories. And, not to mention the other film authors and their films. That's why the reception of those was so bitter, by the audience and the critics, about this few postmodern films here. Although the accent of the critics was mainly focused upon the esthetical matters, I believe that the basis of this reception revolt were exactly because of this, above mentioned specifics.
Whatever, according to all mentioned above, will look into the corpus of postmodern characteristics mostly upon the examples of the explicit Macedonian postmodern films: Goodbye to 20th Century, directed by A. Popovski and D. Mitrevski and Maklabas, directed by A. Stankovski, mostly because of the fact we didn't analyzed them much in any of our previous texts, and in some reduced form, we'll do some retrospectives on the films Light Gray by A. Popovski, D. Mitrevski and S. Janikievic, then Dust and Before the Rain by M. Manchevski, because we did analyzed them before in some previous texts published in the Magazine Kinopis. Also, we will look into the some of the characteristics that incline to, or contain some postmodern values, but in whole couldn't be defined as full-postmodern films. They are Happy New '49, Tattoo and Gypsy Magic by Stole Popov and Angels on A Dump by Dimitrie Osmanli. So, let us note that we do focus only onto long-length feature films in this case, although postmodernism is surely present within the short-length feature, documentary and television films, as well within the video-art forms and video-clip works, also. Only, those cinema and TV segments and forms aren't subject of our analyses here.

The Postmodern Characteristics Catalogue

retro, remake, replay
At the very beginnings of the postmodern studies in some global frames (as the book The Language of the Postmodern Architecture by Charles Jenks), as Postmodern's most significant characteristics was considered the new retrospective and recalling of numerous previous models that the Modern destroyed - in its aesthetic Jihad. So, in the art of painting, that is the figuration, in the architecture it's the ornamental style, in the literature it's the psychological aspect and the narration, and in the film that would be - the conventional model.
By Felix Torres (1988:160), in the western society exists a trend of general retrospective and inclining toward the past: numerous quests for the roots of any kind. The first mild appearance of the postmodern film in the Macedonian film is Happy New '49 by Stole Popov, in 1986. This film is made by the retro principles, so by the strategy of so-called neo-conservative postmodern, which was prevailing - not only in the aesthetics, but also in the world politics in the 80's, bringing the tacherism and the reganism on the West, and causing the break of the socialism and restoring of the parliamentary democracy in the East. In the Happy New '49 prevails this retrograde and anachronistic restoring of the ideology and the way of life in the early 50's.
For Rastko Mocsnik (Mocsnik, 1988:118), the replay, the retro principle is the overtaking of the history again. By that, not only the style, but also the positions it originated from - is being overtaken, and it is presented in a good perspective. That is so-called revival. For the resigned Frederic Jameson, those are desperate attempts to grasp the vanishing past, a real discrepancy with the real history, a historicism that denies and annuls the history itself (Jameson, 1985:198). He analyzes the so-called nostalgia-film (la mode retro), where, at the collective and on a society level, those are attempts to grasp the vanishing past and the firm laws of the constant changes breaks apart along with the vanishing of the generation ideology. In that way, by Jameson, the result is the dramatically appeared discordance of the postmodern "nostalgia language" with the real history. But, Jameson also acknowledges that the nostalgia-film never was a matter of some old-fashioned presentation of the history contents. He acknowledges that the approach to the past is stylishly made with the maximum "polished" image of the historical contents. This Jameson's thoughts are quite valid at the esthetical and even at the ideological level, but in their praxis, as we said, those thoughts did fulfil their society purpose.
In Happy New '49, Stole Popov tries to create a film in retro style, evoking memory of the years right after the Second World War, namely of the historically significant 1948 and the well-known declining of the Tito's Yugoslavia politics from the Stalin's Soviet Union at that time. Then, for many, just as for the characters in this film's story, just or unjust, provoked individual and/or social tragedies and disasters. Very successfully, Popov creates a film with a spectrum of expression means in a retro style. The theme, the characters, the mizanscene solutions, the choice of music, they all breathe in that time's style. What this film presents as a retro one, as a revival, is the author's ideology and preferences. A film where is given, that obvious, so much honor to - in that time so repressed - the urban culture, so much honor to its subversive links with the "decayed West", and a film with so much positive emotive choice of a common smuggler as a good hero... And in contrary, in that time, the most of the victims of that time were the personalities with preferences as this author's... That's why this film is a replay, an attempt to invoke and resurrect the irretrievably passed historical time, this time from the position that couldn't be expressed at that actual time. And on the other hand, exactly the possibility of expressing this author's position crowned with laurels, speaks of the irreversibly changed historical circumstances.

open art-deed
The post-structuralism and the postmodernism are implementing radical re-examination on the concept of the so-called art-deeds as units of the textual praxis. Umberto Eko implies the concept of the open art-deed instead of the previous concept of the structurally circled and closed one with the firm and verifiable values. Instead of the art-deed that understands the signified sign as a constant unit of the meaning, he implies the idea of the text as that. "The text is a tissue of quotes drawn from numerous culture centers" (Roland Barthes, 1992:116). In such a situation, the postmodern art-deed (text) is open for all possible combinations, for any disparate and inconsequent linkages, for any open frames and inter-textual relations on the plan of the diegesis and the meanings. Linda Hutcheon, revealing the ideological and economical pillars that stand behind the idea of originality and lean on the concept of the property itself, says that postmodernism is interested for the concepts that re-examine the humanistic ideas of originality: copies, intertexts, parodies. Popovski and Mitrevski, signing together under the film Goodbye to the 20th Century, question the concept of the author's originality, and with that, of the art-deed as the sacred emanation of the author's individuality, as well.
The postmodernism deconstructs the genre system, moves the genre entities and limits, with its inclusive logic "everything passes". The limits among the genres become fluid, the genre incline towards its bursting, of its genre characteristics and its nature, all that through the "contamination principles, the laws of the impure" (Hasan, 1987:32). Goodbye of the 20th Century functions as a catalogue of more different genre patterns and means, where no scene look like the previous one. There, the sequences of the Kuzman's journey into the Glass City are realized as in the action science fiction film of the most commercial Hollywood-like productions, with the fairy-like, film-musical and comic segments. The part of the story from the beginning of the Century is realized in black & white exotically-historically-made documentary. The part with the moaning over the dead, there is some kind of a new-wave-like abstraction, a grotesque splatter-horror and an urban music film. The Maklabas story is built on the thriller models, pop-art-like segments and underground features with elements of science fiction. But, the thriller is deconstructed and with no suspense and firm intelligible coherence. In Angels on a Dump, in the manner of the Macedonian postmodern theater drama, the genre patterns are given in the paratext of the film by the authors themselves and it's signed as a "realistic-moral-psychological farce, a neo-realistic tragicomic persiflage, sur-realistically-oneirically stylized grotesque".

The multi-genre's existence of the Macedonian postmodern film is realized through the means of the hybridization, with the applying of the rule of the combining the genres that are disparate as much as possible. Brian McHale, for example, considers the detective genre as a pure presenter of the Modernism, because it postulates cognitive and epistemological questions (who?), and the genre of science fiction as a pure Postmodern presenter, because it postulates ontological questions (what?). But, exactly Aleksandar Stankovski with his Maklabas shows that there are no limits that art imagination couldn't overcome, and he includes detective story together with the science-fiction one. As even more, he links the pop-art fascination with the everyday's life with hallucinant oneirism of the Castaneda-type, along with the classical SF story of the alien invasion (The Green Crystal) and the weird creature (Maklabas) of the Mary Shellie's kind. In Light Gray, there is a realized omnibus, in which the stories are so disparate, signed by the different authors and with the disparate genres each: the hyper-urban drama with the magical realism, horror with western techniques, urban drama with the musical and comedy. The goal of the hybridization is to emphasize the complexity and the richness, with the intention to create a different kind of sensibility. That is because of the feeling that the simple harmony is false, or simply - not interesting. The hybridization is made upon the principles of the bricollage, defined by Claude Lévi-Strauss. A situation that, accordingly of the contexts and the specific need and different combinations, one uses different theory "tools" from the "toolbox". The bricollage understands one thing - what Liotar says - to move among more different discourse genres without making a synthesis, but always according the "rules of the game" of every separate discourse genre (see Liotar, 1989:71,79). Goodbye to 20th Century is built in that manner. Its authors, and this is verifiable, said that every sequence of the film is built by the pattern of some widely known film example. Aleksandar Stankovski uses his actors in the same way in Maklabas. He uses his friends as "naturschiks" (common non-professional actors), and they play different roles in the film, and also he uses inserts of his video arts and his paintings and comics, photos, script fragments, etc.

All this gives the most significant characteristic of the postmodern film by which it separates itself from the other types of films: its accented and emphasized constructivity, non-mimetic fashion and anti-illusionism. So, the main arguments of the postmodern film are: the intentional break of the action & story logic, the "alienated" actors' performance and the anti-psychologism in the building of the characters. Both in the Light Gray and in the Goodbye to the 20th Century actors play their characters without the minimum of the personal verity and even in one sequence of the film they make so much of a character changes and overturns of their characters that are in full opposite with the narrative logic of the film. They are fully aware of the existence of the audience and of the reception's possibilities for change, and with that, aware of their manipulative powers. The actors in Angels on a Dump are maybe closest to that our obscure understanding of the postmodernism. They stand - all the time - on the line between the mimetic verity and the emphasized fictionality. They (like) perform realistically, and actually are given as a "characters". The strategy of the emphasized constructivism is also the relation upon the reality itself. The postmodern film strongly shows that it is art indeed, but also it shows in the same way that all of the other art and non-art practices are constructed, made, artificial. Aleksandar Stankovski in Maklabas, for example, for his chronotops (the City Museum) and for the diegesis (the political opposition protests), and also for some of the characters - uses real places and buildings, happenings and people, and by that he provokes the "ontological scandal" (McHale). With that, he shows the constructive principle of the film, but placing it within the film itself, within the false/unreal context, shows how "thin" is our reality in its non-problematized existence. The similar play can be noted in the Angels on a Dump, where the actors play characters they are on the edge between the fictive and the real in the reality itself - especially in accordance with their private and public personality: clowns, actors, public and political figures...

The fragmentarity is one of the canonic forms of the postmodernism. Probably, it emanates from the claim that "the modern man has a fragmentary and incomplete way of understanding and viewpoints on the world. (...) The world is only receipted - and not in any other way but - fragmentarily" (Virilio, 1989:55,59). Or, as Bodriar defines the postmodern: "All that's left, are pieces. The play with the pieces - that's the Postmodern" (Bodriar, at Kellner, 1996:182). With those pieces plays the Macedonian film also - with fragments of the horror, western, mystery, urban fairytale, urban grotesque (Light Gray), the fragments of the "real" life and the urban pop-icons of Skopje, than the thriller, science fiction, fantasy (Maklabas), the fragments from the comics, fairy tales, myths and legends, quiz shows, actual or old legendary and commercial film world hits (Goodbye to the 20th Century). The action of these films is fragmentary, with leaps, with the inoculated sequences, often in collision with the common sense.

collage and montage
The fragmentarity follows the principle of constructing the parts from the deconstructed (one or more) wholes, through the means of montage, collage, inoculation of quotes from the various different textual origins etc. All of the constitutional parts of the whole are equal by their significance, and they stood on equal bases within the whole. That provides them such independence, so they can also function outside the whole, as well. The film Light Gray is an omnibus film, namely - a triptych made by three different authors, and every story is an independent whole within the great whole. The documentary and genre patterns in Maklabas are a freely-made collage, in spite of the illusion that they follow some firm narrative line. In Goodbye to the 20th Century - the three thematic parts are linked among themselves with a different motivation each, and while the part with the Santa Claus comes (in the fable and chronological sense) before the part with Kuzman, it comes (in the edited story) afterwards, following some constructed, cyclic time logic. Then, the black & white segment (the third part) in the film that speaks of the first filmed incest at the Balkans comes as a completely independent part of the collage, both in style and in the theme, and even in the way it's filmed. The reason for the reaching after this way of techniques is the thesis that the art-deed can't directly present the understanding of the world, or to fully "catch the feeling" on that issues. Instead of that, the art-deed can (inter)mediate - through the collage, and through the editing - in the expressing and presenting those upon the actual or historical examples. The elements of the film language doesn't have sense and meaning by & within themselves, but the y gain that through their editing and collage structures (both in text and image).

Postmodern films point upon their status of artifact systematically and with a self-conscience. The traditional and the modern films try to minimize the fiction and to reassure the audience that he experiences the reality itself, and to build an illusion of the world that will capture the recipient in that it. The metatextual films maximize the fiction and remind the recipient that he's experiencing only something created, something made (and "false" in the very reality of the real world). Stole Popov uses that meta-textuality in his film opus: Gypsy Magic begins with the Gypsies watching an Indian film; the way they experience that film is a mini-essay of the "film vs. reality" relations, and the forms of the art reception. In Tattoo, when a few of the prisoners simulate a film crew, on of the other prisoners (Kiril Pop Hristov) addresses the audience directly, among who he places his father also, and with that, he takes the recipients out of the film illusion.

The intertextuality is a concept by which the art is consisted by art itself, but not in the old sense that it contains traces and influences from the previously made art, but in much more radical way: every film sequence or segment is the re-creation of the previous actual film/films. By this, there is no such thing as originality or origin deed: all art is intertextual. The postmodernism points that there is nothing else to do (to tell), but to explore and use the already existing (already told) stories. The multi-genre interlacing of the Macedonian postmodern films is in the function of maintaining the links with the whole (and not only the film) art universe. The Macedonian postmodern film recalls the general genre models, but also the individual models - films, directors, poetics, even partial sequences or quotes. In that sense, the postmodern film doesn't try to distinct itself from the large world cinematography whole, or to impose its own way of narration as a superior image of the eternal and the impossible. The recalling the previous and contemporary art forms and deeds is the acknowledgement of its limited posibilities of the every individual art-deed. These films often, and very intentionally, imprint the impression of incompleteness, and leave the "edges" between the different aesthetic patterns unpolished, with which they point both on the material and the spiritual aspect of the art-deed's genesis. The intertextual link is realized through the technique of quoting.

The quote is a transferring and rearranging of elements, sub-structures of some existing art-/non-art-deed into the new art-deed that is being created. According Mishko Shuvakovic (1995:24), at the avant-garde, the quote is used in a formal, destructive and anti-narrative function for destroying of the organic whole of the art-deed and of the originality of the very originality of the art making. In the postmodernism, the quote is used as an expression of the idea that there is no origin-source text, but that there are only the transformations and rearranging of the existing deeds (quoting of the quotes, transfiguration, linguistic traces). Rejecting the subjective types of strategies that consider the expression of the author's originality, the postmodernism creates an art from a game of quoting, openly showed imitations, borrowings and the variants of other one's themes. In Angels on a Dump is present the link with the surrealistic film, through the quotes of De Sica and Fellini, the legendary scene with the boat. In Gypsy Magic, Indian films are directly quoted. In Maklabas, there is a direct omage of the pop art. In Light Gray are quoted the well-known films of Sergio Leone. And, in the Goodbye to the 20th Century the quotations are numerous: Mad Max, 101 Dalmatians, The Fifth Element, Batman, the Manaki Brothers' films, the partisan films, etc.

The self-reference is a special metatextual situation in which the author (or/and his poetics) became an object of its own text. So, in Maklabas, Aleksandar Stankovski recycles his own previous deeds, his previous art-means and poetics from other media - paintings, photo-arts, installations, intellectual preoccupations and theses expressed by him in numerous other media, etc. Gaining the self-conscience about his own means and poetics, the postmodern artist also gains the conscience onto the way of the discourse's constructing, both art and non-art ones. In many cases, the postmodern self-reference is a comment on the esthetical history of the genre it has adopted. Exactly that kind of use is the one applied on the classical spaghetti-western opening in the omnibus Light Gray, where the familiarity with the genre is used in one banal, common and marginal sequence with no importance - whatsoever - for the film diegesis. Stole Popov, on the other hand, in his films practices his own appearance - with no lines - pointing his "status" that way.

The intermediality is breaking the genre limits between the various texts, merging the experiences from the various media and arts. Pavao Pavlichic (1988) claims that the intermediality is "a mean/procedure with which the structures and materials inherent for some medium are transferred into other media, and at least the one of them is an art one". With that, the enrichment of the sense or of the expression attractiveness is achieved. The real intermedia relation, by Pavlichic, is when the different art media will preserve its status, and in the same time they engage into some meaningful relation, and not if the one is in service of the another. The texts that belong to different media should be read simultaneously. The Macedonian postmodern films constitute intermedia relations with the music, video art, comics, then with the animated films for children, documentary films, video art and the television. In Maklabas, the numerous sequences are realized as a video art, whose main aesthetic goal is to visualize the colorful world under the influence of the hallucinogenic drugs, although there is a dilemma is it a drugged world or the alien world or some parallel dimension. As completely special segments there are the (documentary-filmed) sequences of the public social meetings, protests, art exhibitions and concerts; those can be considered both for an amateur or documentary film sequences. In Goodbye to the 20th Century, the comic-book matrix is full-time present in the whole film, and what imposes most, is the transforming of the tattoo drawings into the film diegesis, the little scene when the children toys are caught in one sequence, a detail that can be treated as a mini-puppeteer film, and the quiz-show interventions are like so, either. The musical pieces in the films Goodbye to the 20th Century, Maklabas, Light Gray and Before the Rain can be treated as music video clips, because the music there doesn't has only a standard role of the functional element in the film semiosis, but they are completely separated wholes: the John Ilija Appelgreen and the saloon-singer in Light Gray, the colorful introduction of Macedonia by the band Anastasia in Before the Rain, the punk and opera tracks in Goodbye of the 20th Century and the various music interventions in Maklabas.

The palimpsest is the text written over some other text that is previously erased. The physical erasing of the text is the most distant critic of the interpretation. Actually, the text is freed of his relation and attitude towards its forebear at the domain of the content, because those two inscriptions aren't linked by the theme or story, but the later one is condemned to its forebear in the frames of their way of existence. So, the fact that the later text doesn't addresses its forebear is of no importance, because it can't be acquitted by its precursor. The drastic example is the black & white sequence for the first incest in the Goodbye of the 20th Century. That palimpsest isn't in any connection with the other two wholes in the film, except in the arch-theme: the incest, which is one of the main themes in the film. With the fact that this part doesn't match nor chronologically nor in the story line, we don't know (for sure) the linkage between those, is it that the one precedes the another two, or is it the inspiration for the film, or is it of a later origin... The palimpsest is present on another level of the film. Because the scenes are constructed both photographically and scenographically, by the pattern of the previous existing films, the real scenes exist in a palimpsest way behind these, newly filmed. The character of Kuzman is also of a palimpsest provenience. Within him, there are numerous threads of other characters: Kuzman Kapidan, Bolen Dojchin, Rambo, Dracula, etc. Through the palimpsest, the postmodern- most deeply - penetrates into the credo that everything is already said and that nothing new can be said and that everything what remains is to repeat somebody else's experience.

Macedonian postmodern films also most use the allegory of all of the rhetorical figures. The allegory is an inversion of the metaphor. While with the metaphor the metaphorical frame of the reference is absent and the literal meaning present, at the allegory that is reverse. The allegory is the direct translation of the abstract concepts at the transparently motivated narrative (McHale, 1987:141). The allegory is attracted by the fragmented nature, the nature of the unfinished, of the incomplete. The allegory deed is synthetic, it is an accumulation, an impertinence, a hybrid. In the allegory can enter everything, but without internal communication within.
Exactly because of the unclear, hermetic and invisible allegorical sense, Macedonian films have burdened reception. In them we can see characters and action threads that only in delusional way move through a known and real "landscapes. There, the allegorical meaning pushes away all what precedes; it is only an annex to that meaning. The characters are only contours of some other ones, of some memories, of some known but lost narratives, which are only pale breaks into the memory. Those are substantive and adjectival determinations and biblical allusions: Gavril, Mathew, The Enigmatition, The Virgin, The Searcher for Drills, the Garbage Man, The Stutterer, The Crying Man, etc. Or, is Kuzman - The Kuzman Kapidan, or Bolen Dojchin, or a vampire from the Cepenkov's old folk stories or from the films about Dracula? Behind the sedimentation of the narrative and motive lines (post-apocalyptic time, aliens, heroin wars, political opposition protests, art performances, archaic beings), allegory opens itself towards outside, permanently attracting new meanings, and closing itself for the individual art.

Brian McHale thinks that the parody is a perfect postmodern form, and that it also incorporates and re-examines the models that are the object of its function. The parody inverts the meaning vectors and orientations of the object model that is parodied. The Macedonian films are exactly like that, tensed between the identification and the discrepancy, between the inversion of the meaning orientation and maintaining the original determinations. In those films there is no presence of that strict modernist parody in which, through that parody, the moral firmness and spiritual integrity of the author are kept steady and constant. In contrary, in the postmodernism, the parody is always a self-parody. Actually, the parodied model is always the only way that the film exists. In the above-mentioned sequence of the film Light Gray, the spaghetti-western model is being parodied, but that is the only and single way of the introductory part of the film. The parody of the national, up to myth raised models; then, of the biblical discourses, of the family dramas, of the high-budget films, etc., is the whole story of Goodbye to the 20th Century. The goal of the radical parody in Maklabas is the undergoing of the poetics idiom strategy - the underground as a sub-cultural trend. There, the science fiction genre is being parodied, with the choosing of the "low-tech" science fiction form, then with the hybridization of the genre with the conspirative theories as a proved subversive literature and through the additional travestying of the SF genre from within, with the parody of the genre canons. The advanced technique as a background isn't taken seriously, it is an ugly distopia, the accent is upon the "cartelisation" of the future, upon the growing Mafia conglomerates that are a threat to the national government in a zero-level of the temporal distance. The sub-cultural milieu of Skopje is presented by the scum, the underground and the marginal figures. The degradation and the simplifying of the rationality and emotionality are drawn to the very limits, the parody of the characters and situations is realized with the burlesque roughness, the individual and social faults and defects are vulgarized, the simple and vulgar "langue" - the slang of the underground dominates and the melodramatic sequences are being "cleaned" from their pathetic. The central motive is the carnevalization of the dreadful social subject - the drug misuse. Even here the cheerful, anti-nihilistic relativization dominates. With the paronomastic bending of the names and toponyms from the reality (Mousedonia, Skotje, Gazi Babe, etc.) are parodied all the toponyms and characters that we can encounter in our real life.

A significant creative integration of the different tradition types appears because of the new eclectic approach towards the author's originality and the art-deed, as well as towards the genre and style. Abandoning the imperative of the new and the original, the eclecticism in this meaning uses all means that are available. It quotes all the known styles of the era. That's why this postmodern film works are of multi-genre nature. They begin from an ideology of mistrust towards all values; it is a theory of the exhaustion and decay when everything is already said, so we can only quote and re-tell what's already said.

The pastiche is the most used eclectic form in this films (French: pastiche - a mixture, an imitation of some author's or some poetics' manner of work or structure with intention to be presented as the real thing, a deception, false presentation, a forgery; pastiche - a text made by the means and structures of the another, imitation). Because there is no subject or author's individuality and there is nothing new or any linear history, a postmodern space is being created, in which all practices and styles are allowed. In that freed game of "choices" doesn't exist any determining system that would create any priorities or build any hierarchy of meaningful values. All the elements and codes are present in a relieving and uninteresting sense, freed if any modernistic imperative. The use of the pastiches in the postmodern art relieves the styles not only of their specific context, but also of their historical sense. In that direction, Goodbye to the 20th Century is functioning as a mixture of pastiches - of post-apocalyptic drama, family tragedy, futurist spectacle and black & white documentary... They are mixed with no regards to their real historical-art context, but they also enter in some kind of the post-historical space, in which all practices are allowed, all styles and strategies from the past, and in which even the chronotop (with no matter how directly determined it is) doesn't seem familiar and fixed into the concrete time & place. It's about the apocalyptic conscience of the postmodern, which looks upon the history as upon a ruin (Killb, 1988:24), or as a paranoid conspiracy theory, like in Maklabas.


The postmodern in the Macedonian film isn't great in quantum, there are only few films, but what considers the quality, i.e. the presence of the postmodern characteristics and means, as we saw above, the postmodern is emphatically present at the above-mentioned film authors. The first appearance, in the style of the neo-conservative replay, we can see in 1986 in the film Happy New '49, directed by Stole Popov. This author uses (although with a quite less quantity) the postmodern techniques or themes in his later films Tattoo and Gypsy Magic. The real "boom" of the postmodern in the Macedonian cinematography is actually in the 90's, same as within the other arts: the literature, the theater, etc. Modestly predicted by Manchevski with his film Before the Rain, the postmodern bursts with the almost pure films by the tandem Popovski & Mitrevski (Light Gray, Goodbye to the 20th Century), and at the first time with Janakievic also (Light Gray), and by Aleksandar Stankovski (Maklabas); further, by the Dimitrie and Tomislav Osmanli (Angels on a Dump), and finally with the Manchevski's Dust. The way of the organizing of the postmodern esthetical characteristics in these films shows the inclination toward the rebellion against the conventional film models, experimentation and burdened reception. That's a moment that can be discussed if we have in sight the so-called art-mask of the postmodernism, the semiotics of the quotes, in which the subversive art is applied upon the (at the first sight) acceptable and communicative film patterns and models. Because of the technical, technological and material difficulties, the films are quite rarely made in Macedonia, and they are in the small amount, so this authors doesn't easily get a chance to express themselves through the filming more films. On the other hand, there is a row of younger authors with the obvious postmodern inclinations (at the fields of the documentary film, video art, music video clips TV film, etc.) that still didn't get a chance to express themselves through the long-length feature film forms. Because of those reasons, the Macedonian postmodern film exists more as a potential, more as an announcement that uses many strategies of the film survival, and, more or less, for any kind of a creative engagement - so it can be better analyzed if this kind of research widen itself towards the coverage of the whole audio-visual medium.

Translated by Petar Volnarovski

Postmodernizmot vo makedonskiot film. In: Kinopis, no. 25, 2002, pp. 27-41.


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