Review: ‘The Judge’

Macedonian salad was never as jumbled as this pretentious B&W video, a scramble of undigested ideas about existential philosophy and world politics.

Macedonian salad was never as jumbled as this pretentious B&W video, a scramble of undigested ideas about existential philosophy and world politics. Nearly unintelligible in its overlapping voices and images and wild jumping from symbolic scene to scene, “The Judge” seems mainly aimed at pleasing the strung-out denizens of East European discos, several of whom appear to have been recruited as actors by painter-videomaker Zaneta Vangeli for her feature debut.

If one were to extract a story from the buzzing images, whose assemblage must have given editors Vojo Zivojnovic, Dejan Pejovic and Bozidar Jovanovic many a sleepless night, it probably would revolve around a character called Vlad Freeborg, who is directing his first picture, “The Judge.” Satan, a cultured fellow interested in art and politics, pops up sporadically. An alternate locus of evil is a group of “multinational” businessfolk intent on dividing up the world, to composer Vlad Kaevski’s tragic score. All this is supposed to be ironic and de-mythicizing. According to the film, history is senseless; viewers might want to reverse the terms.

The Judge

Macedonia

Production

A Minister of Culture of the Republic of Macedonia/Macedonian Television/Achim Ehlert production. Produced by Ganka Samoilovska Cventanova, Evgenija Dimitrieva Teodosievska, Zaneta Vangeli. Directed, written by Zaneta Vangeli.

Crew

Camera (B&W, Beta SP), Martin Wagner, Marjan Ognemovski, Plamen Guellinov; editors, Vojo Zivojnovic, Dejan Pejovic, Bozidar Jovanovic; music, Vlad Kaevski, Mirko Martin Mikovic, Kiril Pop Hristov; production designer, Dragi Spasovski. Reviewed at Venice Film Festival (New Territories), Sept. 3, 2002. Running time: 102 MIN.

With

Alexandar Stankovski, Jovo Brahms, Hellen Walz, Mirce Donevski, Mirko Martin Mikovic, Vlad Kaevski.
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