Review: I Am From Titov Veles DVD

STUDIO: Global Film Initiative | DIRECTOR: Teona Stugar Mitevska | CAST: Labina Mitevska, Ana Kostovska, Nikolina Kujaca, Xhevdet Jashari, Peter Musevski
RELEASE DATE: 9/7/10 | PRICE: DVD $24.95
SPECS: NR | 102 min. | Foreign-language drama | 2.35:1 widescreen | Dolby Digital 5.1 | Macedonian with English subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

I Am From Titov VelesMacedonia’s official submission for the Academy Awards Best Foreign Language film, I Am From Titov Veles follows three sisters living in Veles, where a lead factory is blamed for making the town sick. The youngest, Afrodita (Labina Mitevska), depends completely on her two older sisters after their mother’s abandonment and their father’s death.

The oldest, Slavica (Ana Kostovska), however, has the attention of an older gentleman who wishes to make her his wife so she can take care of his two daughters. Early on, Slavica accepts the fact that she will not marry for love. But it is difficult to feel much sympathy for her when she leaves her sisters behind and struggles with drug addiction.

Meanwhile, the middle sister, Sapho (Nikolina Kujaca), also wishes to escape Veles and secure a visa to Greece. Both sisters promise Afrodita that they will return and see her again, but it’s easy to question their sincerity.

While Slavica and Sapho look for ways to escape, Afrodita seems to be stuck in the past. As she becomes a mute shortly after her father’s death, Afrodita’s dialog is depicted in italicized subtitles, and her thoughts are often shown in dream sequences. This silent world in which she lives in emphasizes her isolation.

As intriguing as Afrodita might be, I Am From Titov Veles isn’t particularly compelling. Director Teona Strugar Mitevska succeeds in showing us the bleak situation that people faced in post-communist Macedonia, but unless one is especially informed about the politics and historical context, you might feel as lost as Afrodita when her sisters leave.


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About Cheryl

Cheryl Cheng reviewed DVD and Blu-ray titles for Video Business magazine and has a special place in her heart for foreign and independent films.