The Third Half

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The Third Half
The Third Half.jpg
Directed byDarko Mitrevski
Produced byRobert Naskov, Darko Mitrevski, Nuala Quinn-Barton
Screenplay byGrgur Strujic and Darko Mitrevski
Based onWorld War 2 events
StarringSasko Kocev
Katarina Ivanovska
Richard Sammel
Rade Sherbedgia
Emil Ruben
Mitko S. Apostolovski
Music byKiril Džajkovski
CinematographyKlaus Fuxjager
Edited byDejan Boskovic
Kino Oko Production
Release date
Running time
113 minutes
Budget€ 2.500.000

The Third Half (Macedonian: Трето Полувреме [ˈtrɛtɔ pɔˈɫuvrɛmɛ]) is a Macedonian-Czech-Serbian film that deals with Macedonian football during World War II, and the deportation of Jews from Macedonia. It is a story of love during wartime and a country's passion for soccer. The government of Macedonia considered the movie of national interest and funded it with one million euros.[1]

The film was inspired by the true story[2][3] of the FC Macedonia football team.[4] The Jewish coach Illés Spitz and Neta Koen (current name Marija Mladenovska)[5] Mladenovska is a Macedonian Holocaust survivor. In 1998 the Shoah Foundation interviewed her.


The Third Half depicts the history of 7,148 Macedonian Jews who were deported to the gas chambers of Treblinka by the Bulgarian administrative and military authorities, who were cooperating with the Nazi regime.[6] In 1941, a young Eastern Orthodox man, Kosta, and a wealthy young Jewish woman, Rebecca, fall in love, despite her father's effort to keep them apart. With the war raging around their borders, the Macedonians remain cocooned in their world of patriotic pleasures, primarily concerned about getting the beleaguered Macedonia Football Club on a winning streak. Their manager hires the legendary German-Jewish coach Rudolph Spitz to turn them into champions. But when the Nazi occupation begins and they start deporting Jews, Kosta and his teammates realize that the carefree days of their youth are over. As the Nazis try to sabotage the outcome of the championship game, and Spitz's life is threatened, Kosta and his teammates rise to the challenge to protect their coach, with all of Macedonia cheering them on.[7]



The film was directed by Darko Mitrevski and supported by the Macedonian Film Fund, the Holocaust Fund of the Jews from Macedonia, The Jewish Community of Macedonia and the Czech State Fund. It was declared a film of a national interest by the Macedonian Government.[8] The film was shot in Skopje, Bitola and Ohrid.[9] Filming took place between September 10[10] and October 27, 2011.[11][12]


The film was selected as the Macedonian entry for the Best Foreign Language Oscar at the 85th Academy Awards, but it did not make the final cut for nomination.[13]


Evgeni Kirilov, Andrey Kovatchev and Stanimir IlchevBulgarian members of the European Parliament—expressed outrage over the film and called upon European Commissioner for Enlargement Štefan Füle to reprove the Republic of Macedonia over the film. They claimed the film was an "attempt to manipulate Balkan history" and "spread hate" on the part of the Republic of Macedonia against its neighbours.[14] The director of the film denied the accusations; he and the film crew described the objections to the film as an example of Holocaust denial.[5]

In late November 2011, the Macedonian media alleged that European MP Doris Pack dismissed the Bulgarian politicians' criticism of the film.[15] Subsequently, in an extraordinary meeting of the EU Committee on Foreign Affairs, which was attended by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Macedonia, Doris Pack, denied this allegation.[16][17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Селектор на Кан ќе ги гледа „Балканот...“ и „Трето полувреме“ at Nova Makedonija, 16-3-2012, retrieved 23-05-2014 (in Macedonian)
  2. ^ The Third Half based on true events on YouTube
  3. ^ Interview with Neta Cohen who was the inspiration for the character of Rebecca Cohen on YouTube
  4. ^ Interview with football player Vasil Dilev from the FC Macedonia on YouTube
  5. ^ a b Interview with the director on YouTube
  6. ^ In February 1943, Bulgaria and Germany signed an agreement stipulating the deportation of Bulgarian Jews to camps in Poland. Initially Bulgaria was to deliver 20,000 Jews to the Germans. The plan's first step called for the "purification" of the Bulgarian occupied territories of Thrace and Macedonia. In March 1943, Bulgarian police rounded up the Jews of Thrace and Macedonia at night and placed them in detention camps under extremely harsh conditions. Their property and their houses were confiscated prior to their deportation in the later part of the month. Sealed trains transported 11,384 Jews, mainly via the Danube River, to death camps, from which almost none returned. The Holocaust Encyclopedia, Walter Laqueur, Judith Tydor Baumel, Yale University Press. New Haven and London, 2001, p. 102.
  7. ^ Rotten Tomatoes
  8. ^ PM Gruevski on the site of TTH on YouTube
  9. ^ Location of filming (MKD)
  10. ^ Filming started on the new film TTH - Sitel (MKD)
  11. ^ The filming of Darko Mitrevski' film is finished - Utrinski Vesnik (MKD)
  12. ^ Macedonian film finished on YouTube
  13. ^ ""Трето полувреме" македонски кандидат за Оскар". Утрински весник. Archived from the original on 2013-01-03. Retrieved 2012-09-13.
  14. ^, Macedonian film infuriates Bulgaria, 29 October 2011.
  15. ^ И Дорис Пак даде гол за македонското "Трето полувреме"
  16. ^ Committee on Foreign Affairs, Extraordinary meeting - Exchange of views with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, 29 November 2011.
  17. ^ European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs

External links[edit]