PUNK IS NOT DEAD
short synopsis for the feature-film
MIRSA (40) is punk from Skopje, Macedonia, old-fashioned junkie, likable urban visage. He lives in proletarian suburbs, surrounded by poverty. His one-time cult-band in early 90’s was scattered together with former Yugoslavia. Mirsa is a genuine nihilist and anti-establishment oriented rebel.
Mirsa hardly finds his way to survive. Sometimes he even supports himself with small-time drug dealing. His dealer is GZIM (30) Albanian, charming young man with irresistible infant smile, but with the reputation of an “executioner”, as well. He offers Mirsa to gather his band again, on occasion of a big charity gig in some forlorn place in the “Albanian” part of Macedonia. The feast is being prepared under the patronage of some NGO, with the platform to spend money for strengthen “the interethnic relaxation”. Mirsa’s band is supposed to be the unique Macedonian representative; since nobody else wanted to play because of “national prejudices”. Mirsa also feels a bit uncomfortable to go to Albanians, but Gzim is bidding him to square the accounts, and above all, after so many years, he is having chance to get hold of some music again. With his band-buddy LJAK, they decide to accept the deal. Here comes the commencement of classical genre’s “gang gathering”, because other colleagues left Macedonia during the war and collapse of former Yugoslavia. Mirsa’s girl-friend NINA accompanies them. First they go to Serbia, to pick up ZUTI, the singer. Therein they collect a mellow frog they called Ferdinand, who is to become their pet-mascot. Afterwards they have to find another fellow, PASHA, in Sarajevo, Bosnia. Many obstacles on the borders and on the road as well. Punks prove to be a live challenge for everybody who represents Power and Authority on Balkans. Barely alive, they get back to Skopje. The atmosphere and events of forecast NGO’s party in the little town of Debar are real “small country show”. There are local mobsters associated with political establishment, both native and foreign, as well as people from NGO-structures. In the last moment, some NGO chiefs decide to remove the whole happening somewhere in Kosovo, which became more interesting region than Macedonia. Of course, they intend to do that without Mirsa’s band. Everybody is disappointed. Gzim (accessory of NGO and buddy of Mirsa) will try to organize the concert, in spite of circumstances. Panic. This evening, Mirsa’s band thunder as mad dogs. They are eager for some music and they sound like the hottest “hard-core” English punk-crew. Unfortunately, one of their Albanian numbers happens to be some traditional relic-song, by mistake. With an aggressive punk coverage it seems like a provocation. An accident. The audience is preparing to lynch them. Mirsa turns his ass towards them and strips his underwear out of sheer perversity, which is an old punk trick. The scandal. Rescue in the last moment. After the concert, the guys are over-happy. Especially Mirsa. They got together and played. They are back in Skopje again, making euphoric plans for the future. There comes a bunch of mad and drunk nationalistic “skinheads”, with baseball bats. They understood Mirsa played to Albanians, for the “fistful of dollars”. The skinners annihilate Mirsa’s group as rabbits, beastly. Blood everywhere, broken skulls, slaughter… Pasha is seriously injured. The victim of brutal violence is Ferdinand, the pet-frog. Next day, band is making ceremonial funeral of their little darling. They decided to do that just beneath the huge “Millenniums Cross”, symbol of new Macedonian state in transition.
Protagonists of this black-comedy are punks who deliberately remained at the margins in muddy times of Macedonian transition. The routine of their outsider’s survival is disturbed by an offer to make a reunion of their one-time cult punk band and play at some bizarre “multi-cultural-happening”, which is to prove the false image of Macedonia as a land with relaxed ethnic tensions.
This is the first Macedonian film treating the problem of increasing serious nationalism in the country.
The film is conceived as a black-comedy, somewhere in the limbo-space between road-movie and drama. It is also supposed to be very documentaristic, a “cinema-verite” feature attempt, and therefore extremely low-budget, not just as a production model, but even more as an aesthetic approach.