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God Exists, Her Name Is Petrunya

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by Teona Strugar Mitevska

mp4 (1920x1080) 1:34

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Every 19th 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 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.

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