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Cannes Film Review: ‘Directions’

31 May 2017 5:43 AM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Popular philosopher Alain de Botton once propounded the theory that road rage is the result of an overly optimistic nature: The pessimist expects traffic to be terrible and other drivers to be idiots, and so doesn’t experience the same outbursts of frustration and despair as the optimist. Bulgarian director Stephan Komanderev’s largely road-bound “Directions,” an ensemble drama of vignettes that explores the fissures and crevices in modern Bulgarian society through a series of taxi rides, might well have been founded on this counterintuitive principle. Indeed at one point a character remarks offhandedly: “Bulgaria is a country of optimists. All the pessimists and realists left long ago.” Yet for a place full of optimists, there sure is a lot of trauma around — suicide, ill health, economic desolation, political disenchantment, social stratification — all of which Komandarev’s clever, fleet-footed film observes with poignant accuracy and flashes of wry humor.

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- Jessica Kiang

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1 item from 2017


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