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It is time to add another special On Tour screening of the Eastern Neighbours Film Festival to the list. As usual, the Louis Hartlooper Complex is one of the stops on our route to promote relevant Eastern European cinema in different cities in the Netherlands.

This autumn we are bringing the North Macedonian drama Willow (English subtitles) directed by Golden Lion award-winning filmmaker Milcho Manchevski to the audience in Utrecht. The screening is scheduled for October 25 at 19:00 and it includes a Q&A with our special guest, actress Natalija Teodosieva and Balkan cocktails after the screening.

Known for his experimental and intriguing poetic style, Manchevski is a director who always manages to surprise the world of cinema with detailed and epic depictions of themes that often stretch through time. Willow is no exception to it. Here the protagonists are again ordinary people faced with difficult circumstances. This time the focus is on three unusual heroines and their struggle with motherhood in a traditional environment.

The first story revolves around a young medieval couple who resort to superstitious rituals to have a child. The second and third are set in modern times, and follow the separate stories of two sisters and the dilemmas they face in fulfilling their role as mothers. All parts of the triptych masterfully intertwine and complement each other, often mirroring each other with the repeating motif of the willow as one of the links that often appear at key moments. Visually, this is a luxurious film with studious framing and scenes that are easily etched in the memory.

With excellent acting and notable roles of mothers played by Sara Klimoska, Kamka Tocinovski and our guest Natalija Teodosieva, Willow is a film that will satisfy the curiosity of not only the average viewer.


North Macedonia, Hungary, Belgium, Albania | 2019 | 101 min 

PRODUCTION: Banana Film, Scala Productions; Pioneer Pictures, Saga Film, Tirana Film Institute

CAST: Sara Klimoska, Natalija Teodosieva, Kamka Tocinovski, Nikola Risteski

SCREENPLAY: Milcho Manchevski


EDITING: Nicolas Gaster


Fantasporto, Portugal 2020 – Grand Prize | Cinequest Film Festival, USA 2020 – Best Film | Raindance Film Festival, UK 2020 – Best Director | Mostra de Valencia – Cinema del Mediterrani, 2020 – Best Director | Rome Film Fest, 2020 – World Premiere | Stony Brook Film Festival, New York 2021 – Best Film | Eastern Neighbours Film Festival, 2022 – Dutch Premiere


Milcho Manchevski’s acclaimed BEFORE THE RAIN is considered “one of the greatest debut feature films in the history of cinema” (Annette Insdorf) and “one of the most important films of the decade” (Ann Kibbey). „The New York Times” included it on its list of “Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made”. It won the Golden Lion in Venice, Independent Spirit, an Academy Award nomination, and 30 other awards. Milcho Manchevski holds an honorary doctorate from VGIK in Moscow. He is a member of the Directors Guild of America, the European Film Academy, and the PEN Club. He has published books of photographs, essays, and fiction; he has also taught and lectured extensively (NYU, Feirstein, EICTV, Babelsberg, London Film School, VGIK, Chicago University, etc.).