Year of the monkey – Synopsis

The two main protagonists of this black comedy are Tsobe, a poor warden at the Zoo in Skopje and the chimpanzee Coco, inhabitant at the same Zoo. The simple story tangles up with Coco’s escape from “captivity to freedom”. Tsobe, because of the general economic crisis and poverty, gets fired from his job but he also receives a promise that he would be taken back to work if he manages to track down and bring back the fugitive.
In the wretched and transition-devastated country, the escaped chimpanzee causes big media uproar. Coco becomes a symbol of resistance and liberal tendencies, someone who has managed to break away from the enchanted circle of general entropy. That is how Tsobe’s mission for capturing the fugitive becomes traitorous.
The absurdly comical mischief of the hunt for the run-away monkey, we partly follow through Coco’s perspective. He is kind of a mirror and silent witness of the sad and at the same time funny world that has lost its compass. And an unintentional tragicomic reason for people’s confrontation with their own fears and frustrations. He even becomes the flag of the revolt, disobedience and everything that a common person cannot be in an unfortunate country.

Director’s Statement

The hypothetical film is conceived as a mixture of rough naturalism and comedy of absurd. The method of contrasting, some swinging and teetering approach to script and film structure, became my favorite creative strategy for quite some time. This attitude also stands for an art-house and commercial composite I would like very much to achieve in such a film. And it’s not just due to the childish expectations of every film-maker to reach both – a blockbuster and a masterpiece in one particular “oeuvre”, but it deals with the very basic elements I find in the content of my story. In fact, a certain weightiness the problems and associations touched in the film are provoking ought to be “neutralized” by desired lightness and smooth-to-bear proceeding of a comedy as a genre. That is my main artistic goal in this film, I must admit.

The working title of the film was “Liberty or Death” which is chosen upon a traditional slogan of Macedonian guerilla-fighters and it’s a sort of an icon in the national historical mythology. Anyone daring to make a mockery of this sacred syntagma is considered to be a traitor, or at least non-patriot. I think I don’t care very much.

Vladimir Blaževski