Book: Kings from the Streets by Aleksandar Koviloski, Publishing House: Prosocijal, 2020.

The first novel of Aleksandar Koviloski portrays a story abounding in drugs, life in the boroughs, emotional relationships, Macedonian prisons and the life of a convict, with elements of delusions and all the shit young people find themselves in. Through the actions of the main character in the novel, the author relays our core values, questioning them, while the stories narrated are grounded, focussing on real life. The novel is written in three parts: the first part is introduction with the characters, their way of life, the second allows a deeper insight into the story, featuring as the culmination of the action, while the third part speaks of life in prisons, offering clarification on the culmination in the second part.

Film: The Secret Ingredient, directed by Gjorce Stavreski

The Secret Ingredient — a Macedonian film directed by Gjorce Stavreski, the screenwriter and the producer of the film, but also in charge of sound montage. The cinematography is by Dejan Dimeski, and film editing by Martin Ivanov. The international distribution of the film was managed by the French agency Wide. The main roles are casted to: Blagoj Veselinov and Anastas Tanovski.

Amber Wilkinson wrote a brilliant review on #The Secret Ingredient for Eye For Film: “The dad and son’s relationship is refreshingly authentic, with both actors on top form. Sazdo (Anastas Tanovski) may be dying but it doesn’t stop him from being irritating, even if Vele (Blagoj Veselinov) is trying hard not to let him get under his skin. Stavreski carefully spoons a back story into this well-realized combination of love and frustration, guilt and sadness, ensuring he keeps us on the emotional hook.”

“This film may be part drama, part crime thriller and part social commentary but Stavreski blends them in a way that marries them beautifully and he cares about every character not just his central pairing, with even comic sidekick Dzem (Aksel Mehmet) given his own small but satisfying story arc. The same can be said of a brief foray into Vele’s love life, which though initially ultimately works the same neat trick as Vele’s cake – it may look as though it contains regular ingredients, but it leaves us on a high.”

The Secret Ingredient is a film balancing between a family drama, dark comedy and social commentary. The most charming side are its unpretentiousness and brutal honesty covering for the weaknesses and insecurity in certain parts .


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