“To the woman, you are glass. To the man, you are water.”
You Won’t Be Alone is the International Feature submission for Australia this year. Shot gorgeously in a small town in North Macedonia, the film is considered to be horror but it felt more like a deep and philosophical movie about what it’s like to be a human.
The film is set up high in the mountains of North Macedonia in the 19th century. A mother is taking care of her baby, Nevena, when a witch suddenly appears. The mother pleads for the “Wolf-Eateress” to spare her daughter’s life to at least the age of sixteen, where she will then give her up freely. The witch agrees.
Nevena’s mother decides to hide her in a cave away from all society, forbidding her from ever leaving the place. The mother raises her daughter without any knowledge of the outside world. Nevena lives a meaningless life never ever interacting with another human being.
When Nevena turns sixteen, a bird flies inside the cave, as the witch is able to transform into other forms. Before Nevena’s mother figures out what’s going on, she’s killed. And the witch brings Nevena outside of the cave to experience the world for the first time. A few moments later she’s transformed into a witch.
The film then follows Nevena as she tries to make sense of the world around her.
Director Goran Stolevski has created a film far more than just a typical horror film. It delves head on into issues like isolation and abandonment. And maternity and motherhood. It explores how society will treat a person differently based on their sex and age. It deals with love and grief. The entire film feels like a poem, with its countless thought-provoking quotes.
As Nevena never got to grow up, due to the fact that she was trapped inside the cave for her entire life, the film felt like we were experiencing the world for the first time as well, following every little discovery that she was encountering along her journey to find a purpose in her life.