‘Petrunya,’ Unlikely Rebel

God Exists, Her Name is Petrunya, a Macedonian/Belgian/Solvenian/Croation/French co-production about a rejected and dejected young woman (newcomer Zorica Nusheva) who suddenly becomes a symbol of rebellion against entrenched societal forces, premieres this Friday, June 25, in theaters physical and virtual.

Teona Strugar Mitevska wrote and directed Petrunya, whose “jumping off” point is the January 19th Epiphany holiday when Orthodox priests all over Eastern Europe throw a wooden cross into their local rivers. Hundreds of men go after each cross, with the promise that “whoever catches the cross will be happy for the year to come.”

But what might happen if a woman, on a whim, was to catch the cross? It actually happened in the small Macedonian town of Štip in 2014, and God Exists, Her Name is Petrunya is a fictionalized version of that story.

In the course of one nightmarish day and evening, police, the church, misogynist young men and an unsympathetic mom battle Petrunya, who just wants to keep the cross so that her life can finally get moving in a positive direction. “Haven’t I got the right to be happy?” she asks an adversary who tells her how much trouble she’s caused the town. “I’m a woman, not an idiot.”

“The world is fast changing, hopefully,” said writer/director Mitevska “I have heard that the real girl who caught the cross now lives in London… To be frank, her life would have been very difficult if she had stayed in Stip.” But, Mitevska added, “This year a woman caught the cross in Zemun, Serbia. She was celebrated.”

To find out where you can see God Exists, Her Name is Petrunya, either virtually or in physical theaters starting June 25, visit 1844entertainment.com/petrunya. The film is in Macedonian, with English subtitles.

(Top image source: 1844 Entertainment)

About Les Luchter

Les Luchter is a former managing editor of Multichannel News, editor-in-chief of Cable Marketing, and news editor of Broadcast Week.

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