I am From Titov Veles
Teona Strugar Mitevska

Synopsis

We are three sisters; there is Sapho, Slavica and I.

Sapho is the youngest, she plays hand ball and goes out with men, many men, she has the disease of modern living, hopping from dick to dick, all in hope not to stay alone or at least leave this wretched place. I, Afrodita am her older twin, we do not look much alike, but we feel, I do not speak, I never have, and I am not stupid I just have a physical problem of not speaking.

Slavica is our older sister, she is thirty-five and has been on a methadone therapy for nine years now, she is fine, she cooks, I clean and we keep the household going.

We live in Titov Veles, it is Veles now since Tito is gone, between ourselves we still call it Titov Veles. There is a lead factory Tito build in the time of communism or social democracy as he called it, the factory is in the center of the city and is polluting us all. Kids with two heads and seven fingers are being born, middle-aged men die prematurely, women get cancer.

I live in a community that is slowly dying and I only wonder when my turn will come. I am a virgin and 27, I am not a virgin because of my inability to speak, I have had many opportunities but I have not met the right one. Anyway, I do not like anyone plus we are busy at the moment looking for a suitable husband for Slavica. By me she is the most beautiful woman in Titov Veles. Our parents are not here, well our father died as soon as our mother left.

Now it is Sapho’s turn to leave, she spends most of her Mondays waiting at the Greek Embassy in Skopje. She is almost there, she says.

director's statement

My first film, VETA is about chaos, my second film HOW I KILLED A SAINT is about confusion, I AM FROM TITOV VELES is about the end of a nation. Identity is no longer connected to a birthplace or origin, people search inside themselves for definition.
The film prepares you for a new beginning, a renaissance that can start precisely here in the Balkans, a movement that will focus on our future rather than our past, as it has been so far. I turn to beauty, harmony and balance in the environment that surrounds us, and it is through beauty and simplicity that I have chosen to tell my story. Form and style are determined by the context of the film, an idea which deeply connects with my personal vision as an artist. Nostalgia is a profound emotion in all of my films, and it informs this ending: the end of the characters, of the nation. However, it is a sacrifice we must make. We must end in order to begin again.
I believe in telling contemporary stories in cinema, reflecting on issues and dilemmas that are important for one’s society and culture. And what is contemporary is not necessarily political, as one always expects in the Balkans. There are also economic, cultural, social factors, as well as the traditions that make Macedonia and the Balkans what they are.

MACEDONIAN SOCIETY
I AM FROM TITOV VELES is set in contemporary Macedonia, in her social and cultural realities. The three sisters fight against the norms but also long to be a part of them.
Due to the rapid changes and great confusion of the past decade, the conflict, war, and transition - political and economic, many negative aspects of our society have surfaced, and the three sisters struggle to find their places as women and equal citizens in this deteriorating world.

THE ORIGINAL IDEA
In the summer of 2003 I read an article in a local newspaper about two sisters who died in a fire in their family home. When they were found, one of the sisters was laying closer to the door with her head smashed while the other lay beside her, hugging her tightly. After some research I learned that they were both heroin abusers.

DREAMS
In a stylistic sense the film approaches the traditions of magic realism. Dreams are an important aspect in the lives of these characters, and they are the naked representations of their wishes and desires. Dreams externalise the inner life of Afrodita.

DIRECTOR’S VISION
I see this film as a conversion of stagnant pictures, where it is only the characters that move within the frame. I AM FROM TITOV VELES is a highly emotional story, a tragedy right from its start and I aim to get right to the stomach of the spectator. You might describe it as taking a long deep breath of very cold air. Although it is the story of a family falling apart, Afrodita’s final act of sacrifice is in essence a noble act and a cry for something that had been, but is no more.

MAIN THEMES

I AM FROM TITOV VELES is a film in search of beauty everywhere, even in the most unexpected and uncomfortable places and aspects of daily life. My main themes as a director are: simplicity of form and roughness of emotion.

Crew

director and screenwriter
producer
 
Setareh Farsi
 
Behrooz Hashemian
 
Diana Elbaum
 
Sebastien Delloye
 
 
Olivier Rausin
director of photography
Virginie Saint Martin
music by
Olivier Samouillan
editor
Jacques Witta
production designer
Olivier Meidinger
 
Vuk Mitevski
costume designer
make up artist
sound designer
Fred Meert
sound mixer
Thomas Gauder
sound recordist
Dana Farzanehpour
production manager
Rossitsa Valkanova

Actors

Afrodita
Sapho
Ana Kostovska
Slavica
Nikolina Kujača
Aco
Xhevdet Jashari
Viktor
Zdravnik
Jovica Mihajlovski
Brivec
Mitko Apostolovski
Mladi brivec
Trajče Davčev
Protestnik
Dragiša Dimitrievski
Glavni tovarniški varnostnik
Aleksandar Georgiev
Marija
Keti Dončevska – Ilić
Medicinska sestra
Ruiz Mustafa
Lepa medicinska sestra
Jordanka Todorova
Oče
Kiril Korunovski
Varnostnika na grški ambasadi
Petar Gorko
Varnostnika na grški ambasadi
Ljupčo Bresliski
Mladi protestnik
Dejan Petrušev

Data

Year
2007
Genre
feature
Film format 
35 mm 
Video format 
35mm 
Lenght 24fps 
101'55'', 2790 m 
Length 25fps 
97'51'' 
Sound 
Dolby Digital SR-D 
aspect ratio 
2,35:1 
color 
color 
language 
Makedonski 
translation 
slovenski, english 
 
 
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