The film sends us to the 18th century when Bulgaria was a part of the Ottoman Empire. Four hoodlums break into the house of the shepherd Karaivan, raping and killing his wife in full view ... See full summary »
A love story about the encounter of two drifting souls. Escaping her abusive past, a woman stays the night with an illegal immigrant friend of a friend. The two get closer and fall in love, but face turmoil.
TILT is a love story set against the backdrop of the changing political and social environment in Europe in the late 80's and early 90's. Can this love survive the challenges of emigration,... See full summary »
Moth is freed on parole after spending time in prison on wrongful conviction of murder. Jailed shortly before the Bulgarian communist coup of 1944, he now finds himself in a new and alien ... See full summary »
It's the 1930s. The Republic Day Ball is in progress in Zonguldak, a coal mining town in Turkey. Among the invited guests are the newcomers to this small and boring town: Halit, an engineer... See full summary »
Poet Yusuf (35-38) returns to his childhood hometown, which he hadn't visited for years, upon his mother's death. He is faced with a neglected, crumbling house. Ayla, a young girl (17-19) ... See full summary »
The late 1960s was the time of Beatles and Rolling Stones, the time of sexual revolution. These events have their echo in Bulgarian English-learning school. The school order provokes a ... See full summary »
At the airport, Slavi tells his life's story to a young customs officer. As children, Nelly promises Slavi to marry him. The two teenagers are passionately in love with each other but after... See full summary »
Georgi (Ovanes Torosian) is a typical schoolboy in search of some identity and--being lack of guide, ends up hanging out with the wrong people. Itso (Christo Christov) was a drug addict now undergoing a therapy who finds himself sinking in beers. Through them, we see post cold-war Bulgaria--its freedom, as well as its confusion. Written by
It has been quite some time since a film genuinely moved me. This past week or so, I have sat through and enjoyed, to varying degrees, Scorsese's Shutter Island and Polanski's The Ghost Writer. Both were polished, well-made, clever films (the latter perhaps slightly more than the former), but I will soon forget them. I don't think I'm going to forget Eastern Plays anytime soon. This Bulgarian film by Kamen Kalev is, well - why beat around the bush ? - a great work of art. Superbly shot in a Sofia filled with graffiti-covered buildings and vacant lots, Eastern Plays tells the story of Itso, an addict on methadone who has to drink beer more or less constantly to dull his pain. Quite by chance, he intervenes when a family of Turkish tourists gets attacked and beaten by a gang of Neo-Fascist thugs (led by a terrifying Alexander "The Indian" Radanov). This gradually leads to a relationship between Itso and the breathtakingly beautiful Isil (Saadet Isil Askoy), whose innocent, optimistic spirituality gradually begins to lift Itso out of the painful doldrums of his beery existence. I don't know what to praise most about this film : its portrayal of a modern Bulgaria adrift between racist youth gangs and football hooligans, the parents completely out of touch with the world of their children ; the incredibly true-to-life performance by Christo Christov, who died of an overdose before the film was finished shooting ? I think finally it is the luminous presence of Saadet Isil Askoy, who brings a sincerity and optimism to the film's grim context, as she tells Itso that we are all living in a time where people are sick inside, but that she feels a change is coming. This is not just a film about contemporary Bulgaria, although it is that as well. It is a film that captures a certain Zeitgeist of the early 21st century, in which, especially in post-Communist Eastern Europe, a restless youth with nothing more to believe in attempts to fill the gap inside them as best they can : with drugs, alcohol, headbanger rock, neo-fascist thuggery, or, in a few precious, fragile cases, with art and music. I have not recently seen a more deeply moving scene in a film than the one is which a desperate Itso consults his psychiatrist : all he wants to do, he says, is find the goodness within himself. He wishes he could radiate light like a crystal, and love all human beings, but he does not know how.
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