Bice Skoro Propast Sveta (It Rains in My Village) (Aleksandar Petrovic, 1968)
I have no idea what to say about It Rains in My Village. I’ve been trying to figure it out for months, during which time the movie made an appearance on my thousand-best list, though it has since dropped off (earlier today, as I write this on August 7, 2013); it may reappear. Yes, I’m that confused about it. You see, there is weird film. There is very weird film. There is David-Lynch-after-Mulholland Dr.-weird film. And then there is It Rains in My Village, about which the weird factor is ramped up into the stratosphere by the movie’s approach being so damn neorealist. If Béla Tarr had ever discovered a cache of really, really fantastic acid, taken the entire thing, and then sat down to write a screenplay with Bahman Ghobadi (the guy behind the similarly weird A Time for Drunken Horses), the two of them might have come up with the WTFery to be found in this movie. It is absolutely nuts, and I adore it with all my heart. But I know, already, before I even start attempting to describe the plot of this movie, that I am going to fail miserably in explaining to you why this movie is so off the wall, and it’s going to end up sounding almost mundane. The movie does have some very Heimat qualities about it (especially that movie’s final two episodes), but it’s like Heimat in an incredible alternate universe where everyone is some sort of -path (psychopath, sociopath, etc).
Plot: it starts out with a “free” young lady, Goca (The Master and Margaret‘s Eva Ras), who may also be mentally challenged, getting pregnant by an itinerant worker, Trisa (Sentiment‘s Ivan Palúch), and subsequently being forced to marry him by the rest of the village. Trisa, fed up with the idea of being forced to spend his entire life paying for one night of pleasure, murders Goca, but makes it look like an accident enough so that the townsfolk are suspicious, but unable to accuse him of anything. He then takes up with the local teacher, Reza (The Piano Teacher‘s Anne Girardot), who’s something of a free spirit herself. Things change when a crop duster crash-lands in town; its pilot, Mile (Lady Killer‘s Dragomir Bojanic), also finds himself smitten with Reza, and thus Trisa finds himself in the ironic position of wooing his current love away from her new beau.
I’m not entirely sure what Petrovic (Group Portrait with Lady) intended this film to be. A tragedy? An absurdist comedy? A Makavejev-esque piece of surrealism? All are possible. All are represented, in fact. But it feels almost as if the storyline takes a back seat to Petrovic’s character-building here more often than not. This is not a bad thing in any way; Petrovic handles such things in the same way as does, say, Bunuel in The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, and that is not a parallel I ever draw lightly. (Discreet Charm… is #25 on my thousand-best list.) The movie is equal parts bread-and-circus spectacle and gruesome traffic accident; you cannot tear your eyes way from it, and nor do you have any real desire to, as much as you may find it offensive. In the end, it is what it is, and “what it is” is something that may not be unique, in that there is nothing unique in the celluloid world anymore, but in my filmgoing experience—which according to my spreadsheet that covers March of 2000 to present (with things filled in from before that as I remember them) is 3,833 movies—it’s as close to dammit as I’ve ever come across. I can’t say there is nothing like It Rains in My Village, but I can say I have never seen anything even remotely like it. And, as I promised, I made a dog’s dinner of trying to explain what it is about this movie that’s so loopy. No one can tell you that; you have to experience it for yourself. And you should, at your earliest convenience. *** ½
A ridiculous clip from the film featuring those travelling players.