HOW I KILLED A SAINT
Filming in a covert, voyeuristic style virtually devoid of close-ups, the director, Teona Strugar Mitevska (sister of the lead actress), successfully conveys the pervasive anxiety of a country on the brink of civil war…
Emotionally ragged and often confusing – the allegiances of uniformed characters are rarely spelled out – “How I Killed a Saint” is an unsettling look at the way violence blurs identity and distorts perception. When everyone has a gun, friend and enemy can look a lot alike.
New York Times
— “‘How I Killed a Saint” is an impressive effort by two talented 20-something sisters…[It] boasts dynamic performances by the two leads, as well as tight directing (a lot happens in just 82 minutes) and eye-pleasing cinematography (by Alain Marcoen, who also lenses for Belgium’s acclaimed Dardenne brothers).
New York Post
— Teona Strugar Mitevska’s confident direction is the main reason to watch this stark, occasionally gripping tale of a 25-year-old girl who returns to her native Macedonia after years in the U.S. to find both the country and her family in shambles. The film is light on story, but the gritty, no-nonsense filmmaking keeps things moving, and Mitevska’s tale has an undeniably touching cumulative effect.
— Throughout, first-time director Teona Strugar Mitevska (the sibling of the lead actress) demonstrates a keen eye for off-center compositions, a striking visual depiction of a world out of balance.
The Village Voice
— A vote of thanks goes to the Bitola festival for this impressive debut feature directed by Teona Strugar Mitevska… The Mitevski filmmaking family are talents to keep a close eye on… How I Killed a Saint, an astonishing debut for a young director, is the first politically conscious film since Before the Rain to take the pulse of this troubled nation.
Sarajevo Film Festival Daily
— One of the buzz films to emerge at this year’s Rotterdam Film Festival has been Teona Strugar Mitevska’s How I Killed a Saint. The film is nicely shot by the Belgian Alain Marcoen (La Promesse and Rosetta), Labina’s performance is passionate and involving, and Teona tells her story in a straightforward, efficient style that’s perfect given the chaos of the movie’s backdrop.
— Festivals should be interested in the pic, which marks Teona Strugar Mitevska as a new filmmaker to watch from the region.
— For this reason, the sincerity of How I killed a Saint (Teona S. Mitevska), Días de Santiago (Josué Mendez) and Unterwegs (Jan Krüger) … are to be praised.
— Although … is definitely a winner, I found the Macedonian Tiger competitor How I Killed a Saint by Teona Mitevska more deserving of an award. Mitevska is a graduate from NYU’s prestigious film school, and it shows. With great confidence she tells the story of young Viola …
— Questo film dimostra da parte della troupe un coraggio incredibile: al di là dei rischi materiali in cui sarebbero potuti incorrere, a stupire è lo sguardo lucido con cui è analizzata questa guerra, ora “dimenticata” dai media occidentali poiché meno attuale di quella in Iraq. .…Una cosa è sicura: per capire le contraddizioni e i problemi dell’Europa c’è bisogno di uno sguardo lucido, impietoso come quello di How I Killed a Saint.