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 »
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 »
A concert to celebrate Bulgaria joining the EU is being planned at the Embassy in London and it is the job of VARADIN, the new ambassador, to ensure the Queen attends. But with corrupt ... 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 »
Ivan's best friend, Kamen, is dying in an American hospital. Since he's denied a visa to the USA and can't stay by his side in his last moments, he decides to set off for Bulgaria ... See full summary »
Dilemma's about lying or telling the truth beautifully portrayed
I saw this film at Noordelijk Filmfestival 2011 (in Leeuwarden, province of Friesland NL). Remarkable achievement to fill 90 minutes with the theme, and it was a success. Two people meet while hitchhiking, she (Avé) being a pathological liar and he (Kamen) clinging to the truth at all cost. Their common journey further exposes their differences, clearly showing that lying works out better in the social sense. It establishes new contacts more smoothly, and provides for better conversation material. Being obsessed with the truth like Kamen, for better and for worse, usually does not produce interesting stories to tell, and you are more likely to remain alone.
The above is, in a nutshell, the theme of this film. During a Q&A with the film maker, it became clear that an existing character formed the basis. Several autobiographic elements are interwoven in this film. But not everything happened in reality, for example the suicide of Kamen's friend that was the immediate cause of his hitchhiking journey to the village he came from.
Another interesting aspect brought forward in the Q&A, was the time and effort involved in the casting of Avé, which began long before the script reached its final form. The actress playing Avé was originally planned for a small role, but did not show up. She was found later by accident, invited for a screen test but failed again to show up. She needed a lot of convincing to take the part of Avé, though being very much like her, not feeling she owed an explanation to anyone, and continuously re-inventing who she was.
Her counterpart Kamen is her opposite in nearly every respect. Though traveling together for the whole film, their close proximity lacks any form of sexual activity between the two. Even worse, they would never make love outside the film studio either. This conclusion by the film makers provoked a rigorous rewrite of the script.
The format chosen for this film, a long hitchhiking journey, works very well to bring the couple in a variety of situations and in contact with all sorts of people. In other words, it looks very much like a showcase of survival tests how to cope with life in the real world. We see Avé's approach work out very well in many situations, but some of the time it does leave some unwanted debris behind. We also observe that Kamen's approach has merits of its own, though we need some time to see that.
An interesting question is whether Kamen learned from their encounter. We see a glimpse of that near the end of the film, when meeting someone in the train and telling a lie just for the sake of starting a conversation. Did he learn from Avé that bending the truth tends to smooth social contacts??
All in all, this film lets you think about your own behavior. I've never thought like this about choosing between truth and fantasy. Now we come to think of it, we can easily recognize similar dilemma's in our work environment. Though we never say it in the open, an ability to cleverly bend the truth will smooth our way to success. Conversely, telling the truth and nothing but the truth, thereby leaving out no painful detail, usually won't help in climbing the career ladder. The picture painted in this film may be overly black and white, but such over-exposure is sometimes needed to get the message across.
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