With Being John Malkovich getting such rave reviews, it just might be possible that surrealism is making a comeback. That would be good news for the creators of Goodbye 20th Century.
Goodbye 20th Century is a Macedonian film — one of only 6 listed in the IMDB. At first glance it looks like an American action film wannabe. A band of armed men in black leather wander a desolate hillside. Before anyone speaks, you might almost expect another Mad Max movie.
But it soon becomes clear that this is no Hollywood film. The angled shots and extreme closeups look either like footage from an amateur camera-nerd, or a surrealist playing with perspective. It becomes clear that the latter is the actual case when a white-robed figure is shot, but not killed. The stunned, would-be killers empty their guns into this humble, dream-like, invincible man. Eventually, the murderous mob decides to let their victim go with just a warning.
There is a circular plot to the film — it eventually ends where it began, but not before a second act is played out. This second act is even more surreal than the first, taking place in a completely white room with people dressed for a funeral. Our hero — the character with whom we empathize — is apparently as confused by the random actions of the funeral-goers as I was. This act finally ends as a Santa Claus figure goes on a shooting spree in this pure-white world.
There are so many more details I could mention, but I have no idea how to work them into any sort of review.
As you may have guessed, I was more confused than enthralled by this movie. I did see some artistic merit in the staging and execution of some of the dreamier scenes. I could appreciate the circular structure of the film and the strumming of timeless themes. But I couldn’t tell you what it was “about.”
Nor, unfortunately, could I tell you why you should see it.