TorinoFilmLab - Training, development, Funding


The Sweet Bitterness of Ripe Pomegranates

Andrey Volkashin

North Macedonia


Dora, a retired nurse, has created her personal garden of Eden out of her pomegranate orchard, in a remote North Macedonian village. After the tragic death of her younger sister, the only meaning she finds in life is caring for her teenage son and her demented mother.

On the anniversary of her sister’s death, Dora’s husband, who is the town’s mayor, finds a wounded young woman on the side of the road, Lilith. She suffers from post-traumatic amnesia and has no clear memory of her past or identity. Dora takes her in to nurture her back to health.

As Lilith recovers, she ignites feelings Dora has tried to suppress her entire life. Love and desire overwhelm the two women, while autumn storms form in the sky, flooding the farmlands. Torn between her passion for Lilith and the fear that she will bring great shame to her household and lose her family, Dora is forced to confront her true nature.


The journey of Dora’s character was inspired by the countless lives wasted when people go against their nature in order to fit other people’s perceptions of what is natural. In her home and lush garden, Dora builds what, on the surface and despite all her daily problems, seems to be her own personal paradise. But with Lilith’s presence in the home, a part of Dora is awakened, something which terrifies her.

I grew up in a small town in the mountains, where people’s basic survival still depends on the crops they grow. In a place where our relation to nature is so fundamental, the contradictions in the concepts of natural and unnatural intrigued me. In my village, everyone who does not fit the norm is regarded with utmost resentment, labelled as “a mistake of Mother Nature”. This is especially true for the people in the LGBT+ spectrum.

Through Dora, I want to paint a portrait of a deteriorating society. One that has lost its connection to the natural world, a world which defines its very existence.


Dora has to confront her repressed desires when her husband rescues a mysterious young woman.
Andrey Volkashin

Scriptwriter, Film Director

production notes

original title
Слатката Горчина на Зрелите Калинки

directed by
Andrey Volkashin

produced byVeda Film
Socijalistichka Zora 36/1-3
1000, Skopje
North Macedonia

current financial need
€ € 422.800