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VENICE 2013 Venice Days

A man buys a newly born in Alienation

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- Christos Stergioglou takes on the main role for Bulgarian Milko Lazarov

A man buys a newly born in Alienation

An isolated house in the middle of the forest, an apathetic wife and a sick mother. There is much to feel isolated about in Milko Lazarov’s debut film. Yorgos, his main character, a middle-aged Greek man, wants to become a father and has a project: to buy a baby in Bulgaria. Christos Stergioglou (Dogtooth, The Eternal Return of Antonis P [+see also:
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trailer
interview: Elina Psykou
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]
) is the extraordinary actor from Alienation [+see also:
trailer
interview: Milko Lazarov
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]
, a long-sequence film, which unfolds slowly with little words. The three-part film draws its strength from the magnetic actor.

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In the first part, we follow Yorgos in his daily activities: hunting, silent sex with his wife, his bedridden mother’s care. He has an appointment, but we do not know where and why. He gets in his car and goes. In the second part, we see him traveling, driving the entire night. When he gets to his destination, three people get into his car. One of them is pregnant. The young woman (Mariana Jikich) has pain in her eyes: for a few thousand euros, she is selling the baby she is carrying inside her belly. The third part is the wait. The party of four (Yorgos, the woman, her brother and the obstetrician) spend time together as they wait for the delivery. The baby will be born during a stormy night, his cries piercing through the silence.

It costs €11,000 to buy a new life. In order to get him across the border, Yorgos decides to hide the baby inside a fake gas can inside his suitcase. We do not know how he reached the decision to buy a baby. He doesn’t speak about it with his wife. After a while, the wife disappears from the script altogether. Some questions remain unanswered. The spectator is simply left contemplating and waiting together with the film’s characters.

The director’s intention was for the film to be a parabola. “It is not a manual on how to buy a baby in poor Bulgaria,” Lazarov said, “it is more of an itinerary on how to lose yourself.” The young woman thanks Yorgos for helping her and delivers the baby without a single cry. We do not know anything about her, but there are hints of extreme poverty. “There are no bad people, rather bad actions,” Yorgos reminds us. There is no evil character in Alienation, Lazarov seems to be telling us, and when it comes to necessity, everything is forgivable.

(Translated from Italian)

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