• Golden Globe Awards

Willow (Republic of North Macedonia, Hungary, Belgium)

Three women. Three settings. Three living situations, one common problem: the inability to conceive. The first part of this three-chapter film takes place in the medieval Macedonian countryside where the young Donka and her soft-spoken husband Milan, desperate for a child turn to an old witch who promises them a whole “gaggle of children” if they promise to hand their firstborn over to her, so she can have someone to take care of her in her old age. When the couple, ecstatic over the birth of baby Kuzman refuse to do that, she curses the boy – and the mother’s womb
Chapters two and three are set in present-day Skopje, Macedonia’s capital. During a traffic accident in the pouring rain, taxi driver Branko meets the lively, joyful Rodna who hits on him and the story seems like a sweet romantic comedy at first. Until Rodna’s infertility and desperate tries at IVF treatments cast a dark shadow over them. Rodna’s sister Katerina has a child, a little boy. He is adopted because like all the other female protagonists, she, too has trouble conceiving. And her boy, named Kire, does not speak or show any emotion. She loves him dearly and calls him “my little Buddha”, all the while suspecting that he may be autistic. Not all three stories end in tragedy. Little Kire, has a surprise in store for his gentle and loving mother, after all.
Milcho Manchevski explores motherhood a little differently than we normally see in films. Rather than showing the difference between nurture and nature, his take on the theme is how much of it – and life – is really an accident. The Macedonian-born director is based in New York and is also a photographer and artist. His 1994 film debut Before the Rain won the Golden Lion, the highest award at the Venice Festival.