Kalev's Eastern Plays vies for Oscar nomination
by Stefan Dobroiu
The Bulgarian National Film Centre has selected Kamen Kalev's Eastern Plays [+see also:
interview: Kamen Kalev
film profile] (2009 Lux Prize finalist) as the country's candidate in the nominations race for the 2011 Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.
The film, which was the first Bulgarian movie selected in the last 20 years at the Cannes Film Festival and LUX Prize of the European Parliament 2009 finalist, tells the story of two brothers who have lost all contact and are suddenly brought together when they take opposite sides in the racist beating of a Turkish family. While Georgi (Ovanes Torosian), who has recently joined a neo-Nazi group, takes part in the violence, Itso (Christo Christov, winner of Best Actor at Tokyo) rescues the victims. Although separated by many things, the two brothers will soon realize that only together will they understand their goal in life.
The co-production by Bulgaria’s Waterfront Film along with Sweden’s The Chimney Pot and Film i Väst is one of the most acclaimed Bulgarian titles of recent years. The film has won numerous gongs at home, as well as at international film festivals such as Bratislava, Warsaw, Tokyo and Las Palmas.
Eastern Plays was also selected as Bulgaria's Best Film of 2009 by the Bulgarian Film Academy, with Kalev also receiving Best Director and Best First Feature awards.
Bulgaria's greatest success at the Oscars was in 2010, when The World Is Big and Salvation Lurks Around the Corner [+see also:
film profile] was one of the nine films shortlisted for the five nominations. Stephan Komandarev's film, however, was not one of the final five.
Kalev was born in Burgas, Bulgaria in 1975. He graduated from FEMIS in Paris in 2002 and has directed and produced several award-winning short films. Eastern Plays is his first feature and the director is currently wrapping shooting on his second feature, The Island, starring Laetitia Casta and Denmark's Thure Lindhardt.
The Oscar nominations will be announced on January 25 and the awards ceremony will be held in Los Angeles on February 27.
Did you enjoy reading this article? Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive more stories like this directly in your inbox.