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Stringent cultural traditions are challenged in this award-winning feminist satire from Macedonia, which is based on true events and in official competition at the Sydney Film Festival (SFF).

When highly educated but vastly unattractive Petrunya (Zorica Nusheva) participates in a men-only competitive religious ritual and wins the community is divided. Is she a hero or a villain? She is vilified by the Church and the law enforcement alike. The only rule she has broken is that she is a woman. Is this discrimination against the female gender? Petrunya courageously takes on the law.

While some of the town folk believe there are more important news items to concentrate on, a tv journalist trying to scoop a big story ponders, ‘If we stick to tradition will we ever progress?’

Macedonian films are a rarity, but this minor gem which boasts high production values including stunning visuals and a fine cast unrecognisable to Australian audiences is an unmissable highlight at the SFF.

God Exists, Her Name Is Petrunya is a thought-provoking film which makes a relatable comment on gender discrimination in a male-dominated community – universal unfortunately in one form or another in all societies globally. (MMo)

★★★★