The Great Water | 2005
Lem Nikodinoski, an elderly Macedonian politician, suffers a heart attack and is rushed to the hospital. As doctors treat him, Lem's mind travels back in time when he was a child growing up in an orphanage. World War II has just ended, and like so many of his peers, Lem has been orphaned by war. He wanders the war-torn countryside, only to be picked up by communist soldiers and taken to an orphanage for ideological "reprogramming." As a child whose parents were regarded as "enemies of the Revolution," Lem will be forced to accept Stalin as God for the good of the Communist Party and the new Macedonia. Headmaster Comrade Ariton, a rigid yet ambitious man, and the Warden's assistant, Comrade Olivera, a girl who obsessively worships the Communist ideology of the Great Stalin, rule the orphanage by fear and discipline. But the orphanage has secrets. Late at night, Verna, Ariton's beautiful wife, almost magically appears and walks by the walls of the fortress. None of the guards can see her, only Lem, as she brings him what he seeks most: hope. Lem looks to Isaac, a mysterious 13-year-old boy who has the courage to question the harsh communist authoritarians who run the orphanage. With organized religion prohibited and no higher power to look to for guidance, both boys know their survival rests on each other's strength. The special bond the two share is shattered when Lem, in a fit of rage after discovering Olivera's blossoming romantic relationship with Isaac, destroys a sculpture of Stalin which Olivera had made. Isaac is accused of the crime, and suffers the punishment alone. When Lem goes to Ariton to confess what he did, Ariton decides he should keep what he did to himself because such a grievous act would forever destroy his standing in the party. As punishment for allowing the act to occur, Ariton is relieved of his post as headmaster of the orphanage. Because suicide will condemn him to eternal damnation, Ariton has his wife shoot him. Ironically Lem is rewarded for his loyalty to the party by being allowed to participate in a State-run academic competition, and his success allows him to leave the orphanage.