The Founding Trauma of National Identity in Films of Milčo Mančevski

Original scientific paper

Sean Homer ; American University in Bulgaria

Fulltext: english, pdf (297 KB) pages 94-115 cite

The Macedonian filmmaker Milčo Mančevski is adamant that there is no such thing as Balkan cinema and he is not “a Balkan filmmaker”. He has repeatedly stated that his films are about people and not place, and insists that it is a fundamental mistake to read a film that is from somewhere as necessarily about somewhere. In this paper I argue, to the contrary, that Mančevski’s films are deeply rooted in a specific geopolitical space. Mančevski’s films range across genre, time and place, their experimental form disrupts narrative conventions and presents the past as discontinuous and open. The films engage in complicated and often indirect ways with our relationship to the past and how the past can be represented. Mančevski’s films, I contend, struggle with the “founding trauma” of national identity, that is to say, with the creation of the modern Macedonian state out of the ruins of the Ottoman Empire at the beginning of the twentieth century and more recently the expulsion of the Slavic population from Northern Greece after the end of the Second World War. Furthermore, his films deploy elements of a national imaginary to construct a unique “timeless” and “mythical” Macedonian national identity.

Milčo Mančevski; Balkan Cinema; The Founding Trauma; Macedonia; National Identity

Hrčak ID: 183302