By Stephanie Ornelas
The haunting and artistic experience that’s delivered in You Won’t Be Alone explores what it means to be human when the rest of the world perceives you as an outsider.
The film takes you on a journey through time to 19th-century Macedonia to a young girl who is taken from her mother and transformed into a witch by an ancient, shape-shifting spirit. Left to wander feral, the young witch is fueled with wonder and curiosity about the natural world as she inhabits different villagers and continues to live among them for years.
Part of the challenge that went into making the film had to do with the fact that one character is shared through many actors. Director Goran Stolevski had the task of making sure everyone was in sync with the part.
“The film is about a soul that lives in many places. I thought it would be really fascinating to create a transporting experience that takes the audience to another time and place,” says Goran.
And he does just that while bringing the film full circle in a disturbing, but beautiful way. Goran somehow manages to get the viewer to look beyond the intense gore to see the film as a whimsical experience.
As for the character development, Goran has always gravitated towards the “outsiders,” and said the voice of Old Maid Maria, the haunting shape-shifting witch, just came to him. Amaria Marinca delivers an emotional, outstanding performance as Maria, who at first is visually perceived by viewers as a monster, but then becomes surprisingly relatable as we see her experience loss and loneliness.
During the post-screening Q&A, Marinca talks about her love for the character and how she connected to Maria through her own experiences of loss. “I also loved the mythical aspect of her,” says Marinca. “I did not read her as a negative character at all.”
Marinca’s take on such a chilling role is quite symbolic of how people can be perceived differently by everyone, and that, sometimes, a character can be closer to us than we think they are.