God Exists, Her Name is Petrunya
Release Year: 2019
Duration: 100 min
Directed by: Teona Strugar Mitevska
Every January during Epiphany, a unique ceremony takes place all around Macedonia: the high priest throws a cross into the local waters while hundreds of men charge for it. The one who finds it is blessed for the whole next year and becomes kind of a local hero. Petrunija is a single unemployed 31-year-old woman and a historian who lives with her parents. Returning home from a failed job interview in a sweatshop factory, she witnesses the ceremony, decides to jump, swims and catches the cross. Immediately, the men attack her and wrestle the cross out of her hands since as a woman she has no right to participate. A commotion follows and at the moment of heightened confusion Petrunija runs away with the cross. Over the next few hours her jump into the icy water becomes an internet sensation. Petrunija is taken to a police station, and this is where her ordeal begins: against the local men, against the world, against the system. From a room to a corridor, to a room again, she spends the night being transferred around the impersonal governmental spaces. She insists that she is the winner and refuses to return the cross. One by one, the policemen, the inspector, the priest unsuccessfully try to convince her to give up. Through these 24 hours we discover a society full of stereotypes, with collapsed social and justice system.
Screenings and Awards:
Shown at many film festivals around the world including the Bergen, Edinburgh, Yerevan, Swiss German, Melbourne and Sydney Film Festivals, prize-winner in several festivals including the Berlin International Film Festival and the Montenegro Film Festival.
Teona Strugar Mitevska
Teona Strugar Mitevska was born in 1974 in an artistic family in Skopje, Macedonia. She started as a child actor, trained as a painter and a graphic designer and later studied at M.F.A program in film at the Tisch School of Arts, New York University.
She made her debut as short film director in 2001 with VETA, and has been making films ever since: HOW I KILLED A SAINT, 2004; I AM FROM TITOV VELES, 2007; THE WOMAN WHO BRUSHED OFF HER TEARS, 2012; TERESA AND I, 2013; WHEN THE DAY HAD NO NAME, 2017.
Since 2016 SISTERS AND BROTHER MITEVSKI, a company she established together with her brother and sister have co-produced The wild Pear Tree by Nuri Bilge Ceylan; Nightlife by Damjan Kozole and Sieranevada by Christi Puiu.
In 2018 she was nominated to the rank of Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the Ministry of Culture of France.
Director image attribution:
Martin Kraft, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons