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"Bit Player" & "Punks Not Dead"

In "Bit Player", Sister Anna listens to the radio while cleaning the monastery yard. Among other news there is information about a new film by cult director of the communist era, Vojo Pandilovski. While listening to this, Anna thinks back to her youth in the seventies when she dreamed of becoming an actress. Her appearance at a casting call for her first role destroys her dreams. Chosen to be featured in a rape scene the young director, Pandilovski, does the unthinkable. Her attempt to search for justice begins her hellish journey from her dream of being actress, through Communist torture and finally to life in monastic quarters. It's a story of double standards between the Communist regime and a bit player, hypocrisy and the cruelty of the past. -MFF2011, Toronto (Viewer advisory: Brief violent and sexual content.) Then "Punks Not Dead", not to be confused with a documentary of the same name, is a comedic drama where we meet Mirsa, the former singer in what was once the most popular punk band in Macedonia, but it broke up years ago. He's now forty, still living with his mother, and he occasionally sells drugs for Albanian dealer Gzim, who in return supplies him with grass on the cheap. Then one day Gzim comes up with an idea: Mirsa ought to get his band back together so they can perform at a benefit concert in Debar, a Macedonian city with an Albanian majority population. Mirsa has an almost herculean task ahead of him: after a period of 17 years, to locate and convince all the band members, some of whom left Macedonia after the break-up of Yugoslavia, to perform together once again in concert. On a minimum budget, director and screenwriter Vladimir Blaževski has turned in a punchy independent road movie about people for whom punk isn't just music, it's their whole life. He also uses black humour and insight to touch upon more serious issues and, thanks to the documentary techniques he employs in the film, he manages to achieve a sense of absolute conviction.

2hrs 6mins long