“Framed within the premise of a fake documentary (a genre that ostensibly aims to reveal the truth), the feature film by Milcho Manchevski asks a question: How much is the public manipulated by the media? What's more, how does our perception of the world change through the media perspective? Is everything we see in documentaries, newspapers, reality shows real?
In a generation where everyone can use a camera, post videos and become an „influencer“, BIKINI MOON reminds us that not everything we see, is the truth. The structure of Bikini Moon develops in front of the eyes of the cameramen, as does the protagonist – a genuinely interesting and well developed character. Condola Rashad’s performance is absolutely incredible, finding many nuances in Bikini’s character. Sweet, but violent; calm, but explosive; emotional, and at the same time rational. These dualities are evidently contrasted in the gestures, in the uninhibited gait, in the loose laughter of a woman who,
despite evident mental problems, maintains a certain level of ‘normality.’ We can never quite decipher whether she is lying or being honest, given the swings of her temperament at the least opportune moments: from her, we can always expect the improbable (and this feeling remains throughout the entire film).
With Bikini Moon, Manchevski (who was nominated for the Oscar for best foreign film for his Before the Rain) clearly intends to provoke the viewer to believe in the almost "surreal" – the finale, for example, is pure fantasy.” **** (four stars)
As a metalinguistic joke, the result is fascinating, because it arouses detachment from each image: we are invited to doubt everything we see. Documentary, by definition, is the ‘genre in which reality cannot be put in parentheses,’ but the so-called documentary features scenes that could never happen in real life. The filmmaker tests the limits of the viewer, offering increasingly improbable moments, until the explicit intrusion of fantasy. At what point do we lose our confidence? Where does the suspension of disbelief reach its limit? We have a whirlwind, an infinite network of possibilities for reading and movement. Like labyrinths, grace can be found in the pleasure of losing oneself. The appearance of Bikini (Condola Rashad) has the effect of an explosion. She is funny, seductive, violent, spontaneous, lying. It's hard to take your eyes off that hypnotic figure. Bikini seems at once perfectly sane and completely crazy when she describes in detail her experience as a soldier in Iraq, her talent for carpentry ("I am like Jesus, with tits"), how she misses her little daughter, or evident mental problems. Was she telling the truth or not? Throughout the film, the doubt persists.” *** (three stars out of four)