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on 13 January 2010
The picture is reddish and full of scratches, sound is mono. Looks like someone made a camcorder recording from a stolen VHS copy. Returned it straight away and bought the American version instead. It may be a little more money but worth it for a film that so much relies on the beauty of nature to contrast the violence.
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on 30 September 2000
The story is so pungent you will feel transported to an impossible time. Cruelty and love among people suddenly facing opposite sides of a religion war. This is a beautifully constructed drama located somewhere in the Balkans (any "hint" on Bosnia is not a coincidence) where neighbour and friend families are torn apart by intolerance. Time frame is not linear, and that makes the powerful sequence of events an unforgettable experience for the audience. This one, folks, is a must.
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on 30 January 2010
.... and what's even worse is that the frames seem to be cut. Sometimes, even parts of the person's upper heads are missing! What a shame -- such a beautiful movie, such a bad edition!
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on 7 August 2009
Before the Rain is an ambitious, moving and ultimately satisfying film from director Milcho Manchevski that demands repeated viewings. The film is structured in three sections, the first and third set in Macedonia, the middle in London, although the structure is circular rather than linear, and the chronology (deliberately) does not make sense. In the first section, "Words", a Macedonian Christian monk (Gregoire Colin) offers sanctuary to a Moslem Albanian girl being sought for a crime she may, or may not, have committed. The section title itself has implications; the Monk, for example, has taken a vow of silence! In the second section, "Faces", a London picture editor Anne ((Katrin Cartlidge) must decide between her husband and a war weary photo journalist Alex (Rade Šerbezija). In the final section, "Pictures", the photo journalist returns to his village in Christian Macedonia after 16 years away and attempts to cope with the hatred and violence between his village and the village of neighbouring Moslem Albanians. While separate, each of these three sections builds on what goes before, gradually supplying more information, until the deadly climax reveals everything. Almost.
If anything the parts are uneven. "Words" is beautifully shot, sparse and compelling; "Pictures" longer and slower as the Alex tries to re-experience a childhood environment now blighted by bigotry and violence between former friends. No-one here is innocent, no-one blameless; only Alex with his "foreign" perspective seems capable of some degree of impartiality. "Faces" is more frenetic in pace, and does feel unbalanced in comparison to the Macedonian sections. At its core, however, this is sad film, bitter over the violence that humans inflict on each other, where bigotry is a stronger emotion than love or family, and all who desire something better find themselves at great risk.
The stunning visuals in the Macedonian sections and the music by Anastasia fully support the mood of the film, and enhance the viewing experience.

Unfortunately, this DVD does not really do the film justice. On start up, there is no chapter index, just play, and the presentation itself is patchy. There are frequent grain and dirt marks which, although present, are not too distracting while the picture lacks sharpness and detail. Sound is advertised as stereo, but came through the centre speaker. Having said that, this is a film of many silences where the score carries the story beautifully. Dialogue is clear, and the subtitles in the Macedonian sections are clear white text and don't contain obvious grammatical or spelling errors.

There are no extras. The Region 1 Criterion edition is reported to have an excellent transfer, a commentary by Manchevski and film scholar Annette Insdorf, a sixteen-minute interview with Rade Šerbedzija, a 15-minute featurette, five minutes of on-the-set footage, fifteen minutes of soundtrack selections, Manchevski's 1992 hip-hop music video "Tennessee", some photographs, a stills gallery, and trailers.
Before the Rain is an intelligent and moving film, here with an indifferent DVD presentation. If your system will allow it, the Criterion Region 1 edition seems the better choice.
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on 12 June 2009
One of the most brilliant films I've ever seen. Other reviews cover well the basics of the film - three ill-fated love stories set in or associated around a war-torn country (Bosnia implied). It draws you in, sickens you, and makes a point of how war goes on and on and on simply because people always always always have a history of mistreatment by others, so always have a reason for their own revenge.

What no other review I've read seems to note is the time trick played by the film. The tales loop back, so that each one takes place after the previous tale, and the first tale takes place after the last one. This simple twist is what makes the points of futility and pain and eternity of war - and is what makes the film so powerful and brilliant.
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on 24 July 2011
Looks like an unknown masterpiece illustrating inconvenient questions. Daring presentation to an inconvenient audience inside and outside the Balkans. For those who are interested in beginning to understand this region full of historic/ethnic fault lines.
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on 10 September 2010
This is an great film. Well directed by Manchevski, and tells a wonderful story of love during the times of political unrest in divided Macedonia. The film is set in Macedonia in the early 1990's when it gained its independence from Yugolsavia in 1991. The scenery is amazing, the soundtrack is brilliant and the movie is well worth a watch. I would certainly recommend it to anyone.
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on 25 August 2015
This film portrays with great style the ethnic conflict in Macedonia between Christians and Muslims and interspersed this with scenes in London of a photographer portraying the conflict. The structure is episodic but folds back around neatly at the end. Highly recommend
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on 1 July 2013
Wow! This Manchevski dude is a legend. What a powerful movie. It is so very thought provoking and deep stuff. It really blew my mind. I would watch this film many times. I highly reccoment it to everyone.
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on 10 September 2004
One of the greatest movies I've ever seen!!! Based on four different stories narrated with great expressive pathos and ambiented also in London and the beautiful landscapes of Macedonia which will take your breath away!!! The power of the emotions explode in each of the stories. Real masterpiece, thanks to the director Manchevski and the actors.
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