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«Mil~o Man~evski PRED DO BIBLIOTEKA PARTER DESNO Naslov na originalot BEFORE THE RAIN © Milcho Manchevski, 1993 Glaven urednik Dimitar Ba{evski ...»

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Milcho Manchevski


Mil~o Man~evski




Naslov na originalot


© Milcho Manchevski, 1993

Glaven urednik

Dimitar Ba{evski

Urednik na izdanieto

Ilina Jakimovska

© Izdava~ka ku}a Slovo, Skopje

Publishing House Slovo,Skopje

Republic of Macedonia

Milcho Manchevski


Mil~o Man~evski PRED DO@DOT CIP - Katalogizacija vo publikacija Narodna i univerzitetska biblioteka †Sv. Kliment Ohridski#, Skopje 821.163.3-293.7 791.43.02:

821.163.3-293.7 MANČEVSKI, Milčo

Before the Rain/ Milcho Manchevski = Pred do‘dot /Mil~o Man~evski - Skopje:

Slovo = Skopje : Slovo, 2002.- 407 str. ; 20 sm.- (Biblioteka Parter desno)

Tekst naporedno na makedonski jazik.- Instead of an After-word; Namesto pogovor :

str. 389-403 ISBN 9989-103-00-3I.

Manchevski, Milcho vidi Mančevski, Milčo Dedicated to two Vasilkas and one Aleksandar A few months ago the screenplay of ―Dust‖ was published as a book. The publisher has now undertaken to do the same with ―Before the Rain.‖ Thus the screenplay written first comes out second. To keep ―Dust‖ company.

*** In almost all interviews I gave for newspapers and tv in dozens of countries over the final years of the last century I kept repeating that ―Before the Rain‖ is not a documentary about former Yugoslavia, nor about Macedonia, nor is it a documentary at all. I would say: ―You can see this from the aesthetic approach: it‘s shot like a fairytale; look at the camera work, or the editing, or the music. I am using actors. It‘s scripted, for Heaven‘s sake.‖ Who got it - got it.


A few things from the foreword to ―Dust‖ apply to this book. That‘s why I copy them here:

*** Reading a screenplay is a bit like reading an architectural blueprint. There is an awful lot of technical stuff and a lot of things you have to imagine. Screenplays are not written for literary readings. They are technical blueprints for future films.

*** Often times during filming the director will change something. The screenplay is only a sketch, not the Holy Book. So, after the shoot, you almost always end up with a film different from the screenplay you started with. Sometimes very different, sometimes not so different, sometimes not different at all. Seldom not different at all.

During the filming, as these changes take place, the continuity person meticulously notes the changes. Later, they go back to the screenplay and apply these changes to the script.

Retroactively. In the end, of course, that screenplay is not the same as the initial screenplay from before the filming.

When you buy a published screenplay, in your hands you hold an exact description of that which already exists in the film itself, the words which the characters have spoken, and the images which the camera has shown. You don‘t hold the sketch after which they all started working many months ago.

*** The screenplay contained in this book is a real screenplay. In other words, this script has not been polished after the finished film. In your hands you hold that draft after which we started making the film.

(The idea for ―Before the Rain‖ was begot in the second half of 1991. The five pages Simon Perry of British Screen decided to support in 1992 became a screenplay in January 1993.

It took them only two weeks to grow from five pages to a hundred-plus. We shot the same year, and finished the film in 1994. This is the final draft, the one after which we started shooting, a draft very similar to the first draft.) During the shoot and the edit I felt some things should be changed, so I changed them. The screenplay is not a Holy Book, is it?

You won‘t see those changes here. This screenplay‘s frozen in the state it was in before filming began (like a photo revealing all faults and virtues of the moment it was taken, not of today).

However, you will see a few scenes which were in the screenplay, which we even shot, but scenes which I later decided not to have in the film.

Anyway, I felt that changing the screenplay after a finished film is like going back to your old high school ten years later to improve on your grades. It just doesn‘t fly...

–  –  –

© 1993, Milcho Manchevski It is the time just before rain, the time when the flies bite like kamikaze, when the birds fly low and the sky hangs overhead black, heavy and expectant, when all the colors are washed in gray, subdued and intense, yet punched through by radiant hues.

It‘s about to burst.

A heavy sense of expectation, of lowering, of time just before something large overwhelms the picture, the frame, the rhythm, the colors, the light, the music and the characters.

Still, the story moves fast, faster than words.

–  –  –


EXT. SKY - DAY Clouds.



―With a Shriek Birds Flee Across the Black Sky, People Are Silent, My Blood Aches from Waiting.

–  –  –

EXT. LAKE - MONASTERY - GARDEN - DAY - CLOSE on two rough hands as they pick juicy, ripe tomatoes.


the hands picking tomatoes.

The tomatoes are ripe and fall off effortlessly at the gentlest touch. A tiny twig breaks. The two hands find a small stick and use it to prop the twig and help the plant heal.

The hands then continue picking tomatoes and putting them on the ground, in the dry dust.



―WORDS‖ CYRIL, a young monk, barely out of his teens, is the one picking tomatoes in the monastery garden.

He slaps himself on the neck, killing a fly.


MARKO, an old monk climbs down the steep mountainside strewn with barren rocks.

The white monastery is nestled amongst harsh rocks.


Cyril is putting down the tomatoes in the dust when Marko approaches him. Marko‘s face is kind and rough like a shoe sole.

–  –  –

Cyril and Marko take the tomato-filled bags and head for the church.


Marko and Cyril walk down the snake-like path.

It THUNDERS (o.s.).

The sound of monks singing a LITURGY (v.o.).

–  –  –

The two monks walk near a group of children playing in the dust against the cracked monastery wall. Wide vista behind.

The kids have caught a few wasps and put them on top of an ant hill. Hundreds of ants are tearing into the crippled wasps. As the ants rip them apart, the wasps squirm in agony.

The children light a match and set them all on fire: the ants and the wasps. Flames engulf all. The kids laugh merrily.

One of the children pulls out a few bullets, plays with them and devilishly throws them into the fire. The bullets explode in the fire, rip through the air and zip over the children‘s heads. The kids dive to the ground, laughing with their faces in the dust.

–  –  –


Marko and Cyril appear around the rocks.

A wide vista unveils in front of Marko and Cyril: a little old red-brick church is perched up on the edge of a cliff. A placid lake stretches out underneath the little church. The blue Albanian mountains loom behind the lake.

–  –  –

Cyril smiles naively, but with pride.


Two fishermen in a rowboat wave to Marko and Cyril. The lake is blue, crystal clear.


Marko waves back merrily.

INT./EXT. CHURCH - EVENING A dozen monks at an evening mass.

Eastern Orthodox liturgy chants CONTINUE from the previous scenes, THIS TIME ON CAMERA.

Quiet. Peaceful. Soulful.

The golden candlelight shimmers over the weary faces of the centuries-old saints, while shadows dance over their wings.

FATHER DAMJAN, the proud abbot sings the mass liturgy.

The hushed sound echoes in the little church and over the serene faces of the monks. Marko, Cyril, KUZMAN, TRIFUN... peasant faces. Behind them, the windows look down at the lake. In the windows little children appear, peeking inside and laughing with curiosity.


The children giggle, peeking in.

Summer night. CRICKETS.


The big moon hovers over the serene lake.


A dozen monks returning to the monastery.

They‘re walking on the mountain ridge, their silhouettes drawn small against the night sky.

Endless summer night.


The monks climb the steep hill.




The monks approach the monastery.


The monks Kuzman and Trifun are handing out food to a dozen refugees: old women with small children, amputees, exhausted old men... They all have difficulties under the heavy weather.

Some fan themselves.

Marko and Cyril walk by.

Marko wipes off the sweat from his neck.

–  –  –


Cyril silently bids Marko good-night, then climbs the ladder to his attic cell.

INT. ATTIC - CYRIL‘S CELL - NIGHT Cyril enters his cell. It‘s modest, has the feel of space not quite tamed yet: the crooked beams are still exposed, and pigeons seem to hide under the roof-tile, making quiet guttural SOUNDS.

A vigil light burns in front of a small framed icon inside a tiny alcove.

Cyril takes off his habit, switches off the light and sits down on the bed. The moonlight illuminates him through the window. He crosses himself and lies down.

Suddenly, he jumps up as if burned.

Swings around.

Someone‘s messy hair is staring at him from his own bed. She is young, younger even then Cyril, barely fifteen or sixteen. ZAMIRA. Fear is carved in her face. Her forehead is scratched.

The beautiful big eyes plead wide open.

She nervously touches the scratch on her forehead, then licks her fingers. Like a cat.

Cyril crosses himself and reaches for the light switch. Zamira leaps up and grabs him by the hand.

He shivers from her touch.

She puts her finger in front of her mouth, giving him a sign to be silent, feverishly trying to warn him not to talk, not to turn her in.

Cyril turns on the light. The girl covers her face.

Now that he can see her in the light, Cyril observes voraciously. She slowly reveals her face.

She is scared, like a kid caught on the run, sticky apricot juice hardening around her mouth.

Beautiful big eyes. Bare feet. She is shaking with fear and cold. Almost a child, yet with full breasts...

She is pretty.

A smile steals across Cyril‘s face. Then, the smile starts to mix with anxiety.

She addresses him in ALBANIAN - she only speaks Albanian.

–  –  –

Then, unexpectedly, he loosens up his stiff shoulders and relaxes.

Zamira responds by relaxing herself. She picks up her red scarf, wraps herself in the rough blanket, gets up from the bed and lies down on the wooden floor in the corner, all the way under the slanted roof beams. The pigeons make guttural SOUNDS (o.s.) as if greeting her.

She is ready to sleep. She looks at him matter-of-factly, then rolls over.

Cyril still stares at her, confused.

Her foot sticks out from underneath the blanket.

INSERT - CYRIL‘S P.O.V. - CLOSE on her bare foot.


Cyril‘s eyes are open in hushed passion, and his mouth is a little agape. He swallows visibly, an apple rolling down his throat.

She notices this and covers her foot.

He feels stupid for having stared at her foot with lust.

Turns on his heels and exits.


Cyril comes out of his cell and climbs down the ladder, crosses over to the room next door.

Firmly raises his hand to knock on Marko‘s door. Before he knocks, he turns around, looks in the direction of his room. Zamira is standing at the bottom of the ladder, her face veiled with fear, her body wrung with expectation. She is tight like a bow, ready to bolt for the other end of the hallway chardak if Cyril knocks on Marko‘s door.

Cyril‘s fist hovers in the air, an inch from Marko‘s door. His hand lingers there for a few seconds, a whole minute, he doesn‘t know what to do, she is standing there, half-ready to leave.

When Cyril looks at the girl, she manages a friendly smile. He is wrenched by a dilemma, still devouring her passionately with his eyes.

Unexpectedly, light falls on Cyril - Marko‘s door opens, and Marko appears. Both Marko and Cyril jolt back, startled. Marko lets out a loud sigh. They stare at each other face to face.

–  –  –

Marko laughs and lets Cyril go first.



Marko and Cyril walk away.


Cyril stands over the toilet.

He can‘t pee. He is too excited.

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