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Middle Ages. Bulgaria is under the Ottoman Empire. Somewhere, far in the mountains, goatherd Karaivan lives with his wife and little daughter. One day, while he is away, Turks burst into the house and rape the woman before the eyes of the kid. She dies and the girl is shocked into growing dumb. From this moment on, Karaivan is obsessed with the sole thought of taking revenge. He moves with the girl into a cave high in the mountains, raises the girl as if she is a boy, trains her to fight and draw a bow. Deep in her heart, the girl has no hatred, but a craving for love. She meets a young Muslim shepherd and falls in love. The father is unable to swallow it and kills the young man, thus killing his own daughter. Written by
Georgi Djulgerov <email@example.com>
Kozijat Rog 1972, Kozijat Rog 1994 - A Comparative Review
Time: In the 17th Century. The Setting: Bulgaria under the rule of the Turkish Ottoman Empire
The plot: A Bulgarian goatherd's wife is brutally raped and murdered by a band of Turks in full view of her little daughter, Maria. The goatherd takes the young girl high into the mountains for protection. There he raises her as a boy and trains her to fight with a dagger, staff and blunderbuss. When Maria reaches adulthood the two begin to take revenge against the Turks. But one day Maria meets a young man who completely changes everything in her life.
Like a great Shakespearean drama this story could be subjected to numerous interpretations by various directors.
Kozijat Rog, 1972 b&w, directed by Metodi Andonov was made as an "experimental" film in the Communist era. It remains the most popular Bulgarian film ever made. When first released more than one third of the country's population saw the film.
Kozijat Rog, 1994 color, directed by Nikolai Volev is an art film. It is not really a remake of the first film but a complete re-telling of this tragic tale. To appreciate this film you had best look at it as an entirely different story. Though the interpretations do parallel each other, certain scenes in the first version do not appear in the second and vice versa.
I liked both films for different reasons. I think Kozijat Rog, 1972 is by far the most subtle and deepest interpretation of the original short story written by Nikolai Haitov, who wrote the screenplay for the b&w original. The acting of Katya Paskaleva is outstanding to where I would consider it a "textbook example" of great screen acting. There is very little dialog in the film. The story is told through action and visual imagery. Katya Paskaleva plays Maria's mother in the opening scenes and Maria as an adult in the rest of the film.
Elena Petrova in Kozijat Rog 1994 gives a very different interpretation of the adult Maria as clearly being psychologically wounded by the childhood trauma. She too portrays Maria's mother in the opening scene. It is a fine interpretation.
Kozijat Rog, 1994 does not have the subtlety and nuances of the original, but there are some interesting artistic and interpretive ideas that make the film worth a visit. Some people who saw this film first liked it better than the original. I saw the original first and it remains my favorite. Because of the dramatic and tragic nature of these films and the artistic interpretations of the story, I would not recommend them to anyone who does not have a taste for art films. These are not the standard action-suspense-adventure movies although the plot may be suitable for that genre.
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