Two Bulgarian films in competition at Locarno
by Stefan Dobroiu
- Ralitza Petrova's Godless, and Kristina Grozeva and Petar Valchanov's Glory both have a shot at the Golden Leopard
For a country with approximately seven million inhabitants, Bulgaria has an impressive number of cinema productions that are becoming increasingly popular with class-A festivals: the most recent proof of this is the selection of not one, but two Bulgarian productions in the Locarno competition: Ralitza Petrova's Godless [+see also:
interview: Ralitza Petrova
film profile], and Kristina Grozeva and Petar Valchanov's Glory [+see also:
interview: Petar Valchanov, Kristina G…
Godless, a first feature, is a co-production between Bulgaria, Denmark and France handled internationally by Greek world sales agent Heretic Outreach. The screenplay, written by Petrova, tells the story of Gana (Irena Ivanova), a nurse who takes care of senior citizens with dementia, while trafficking their ID cards on the black market. Her bleak existence is shattered when she hears the music of Yoan (Ivan Nalbantov), a new patient of hers, whose ID card she has already sold. When Yoan is arrested for fraud because of her, Gana knows she must do the right thing.
“I want to explore the frail intimacy between brutality and empathy, through the moral dilemmas of a generation raised with a lost belief in goodness,” Petrova told Cineuropa before the production started.
Meanwhile, after their acclaimed The Lesson [+see also:
interview: Kristina Grozeva, Petar Val…
interview: Margita Gosheva
film profile], Grozeva and Valchanov continue their “newspaper-clippings trilogy” with Glory, the story of a railroad worker, Tsanko Petrov (Stefan Denolyubov), who finds millions of leva on the train tracks. He decides to hand the money over to the police and consequently receives a reward: a wristwatch given to him by the state. When the wristwatch stops working and Petrov finds out that his old watch had been lost by the head of the PR department of the Ministry of Transport, the man begins a struggle to set things right.
“We are trying to ignore the sensational and to create a social parable; this is the important thing,” Valchanov told Cineuropa when the film was in pre-production. Glory is a co-production between Bulgaria and Greece; Wide Management handles the world sales.