An unemployed historian living with her parents in a Macedonia town crashes an all-male Orthodox Christian ceremony and enacts a one-woman feminist resistance.
By Nicolas Rapold
When you purchase a ticket for an independently reviewed film through our site, we earn an affiliate commission.
In another world, the rebellious title character of “God Exists, Her Name Is Petrunya” might have been a contented free spirit in a John Waters movie. But Petrunya lives in the conservative town of Stip, Macedonia, and she seems dulled into a standstill by patriarchal rules and motherly interference. That starts to change when she crashes an all-male Orthodox ceremony — every year, a priest lobs a cross into a river and men scramble to grab it — and takes the prize.
Many townspeople throw a Stip fit over Petrunya’s feat, and at the behest of outraged priests, she’s pursued and detained by the police. Petrunya (Zorica Nusheva, with an eye-flashing frustration just short of antic) rises to the occasion by standing up to the intimidation and condescension. It wasn’t always thus: she starts off the movie stuck in bed, a 30-something unemployed historian living with her mother.
The director, Teona Strugar Mitevska, draws on actual events for this good-humored story of occupation and resistance. The independent streak was clearly present in Petrunya somewhere: we’ve seen her fending off a sleazy garment-factory boss and walking off with a mannequin, which she totes everywhere in what feels like a naturally punk move. Mitevska and the cinematographer, Virginie Saint Martin, lend Petrunya’s external world some further off-kilter flair and eye-catching patterns.
But the standoff with authorities dawdles and languishes, and a side plot with a TV journalist (Labina Mitevska) feels one-note. Still, we should all look forward to seeing what Petrunya does next.
God Exists, Her Name is Petrunya
Not rated. In Macedonian, with subtitles. Running time: 1 hour 40 minutes. In theaters and on virtual cinemas.
Site Information Navigation
Source: Read Full Article