Before the Rain (1994)
d. Milcho Manchevski
Criterion Collection #436
It is hard not to associate Before the Rain with Kieslowski's Colors trilogy. Kieslowski was Polish, and Manchesvski is Macedonian what there is something memorably "European" about the visual look and storytelling feel of both Artists binds the four films together on an emotional level. Before the Rain was an American hit, and remains the only Macedonian sponsored film to be nominated for Best Foreign Film for the Academy Awards.
Manchesvski came from a background of helming music videos in the United States, and it is clear from the opening scenes that Manchevski has a visual style that summons to mind Enya and 90s U2. Although Before the Rain is about the violence that wracked the Balkans in the early 1990s, it's not a specifically Macedonian milleu- Macedonia having been the only Balkan nation to escape widespread violence. Manchevski also provides a story line centered in London, and his directorial touch is smooth whether he's in the outback of.... Bosnia? Albania? or shooting in downtown London.
It's easy to see why Before the Rain struck a court with international audiences, it seems almost perfect for the 1990s American Arthouse circuit that I experienced in the Bay Area and Washington DC growing up and going to school. It's very much a situation where if you liked the Colors trilogy by Kieslowski, you'll like Before the Rain.