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It starts philosophically, then switches to light hearth-ed comedy then to history, then satire... It's very hard to define what this movie is. The language used (old Bulgarian) has nothing to do with the language they use these days. It is a mix of both, probably not to burden the viewers too much (but sometimes sounds unnatural and fake).
Voice and sound FX are very good (which is a rare trait for Bulgarian movies), music is decent, but at the same time vaguely used and way louder than the rest of the sound. It is not used properly to emphasize the tense moments, but only to underline heroic and proud moments. Basically, the whole movie is quiet while the main characters narrate through it. The pace is very slow and lacking dynamics. The movie can be 30 minutes shorter easily.
The story is actually a satire. Everything else is enveloped around it. The horrible, simple minded "fun" the rest of the viewers were laughing at, has a nice double meaning. It is revealed later in the movie. It also made me twist my empathy away and towards the filmmakers and the main characters, several times. It is also a story of emotions, which are tracked thoroughly. Acting was okay, but you could easily tell which actors are experienced and which are not.
What I like the most was the scenery and visuals. The director of photography did very good job. Nature shots are great, aerial footage, which is not that expensive nowadays, also brings a lot to the visual variety. Strangely, some of the shots are overexposed.
Final scene was emotional and strong. At the same time - too over-stressed and way-way prolonged. The overemphasized tragedy was misunderstood and many people started laughing at it in the theater. You can tell the film makers put a huge amount of effort to tell the story, but sometimes there are scenes which contribute nothing to the movie. Instead, important scenes and secondary ones have the same screen time. Shortening the movie by 30 min, using better combat shots (sorry, American movies set the bar high). Better use of the music and more of it would bring it to another (higher) level. After I exited the movie theater, my mind was still working on it. After all, it provoked me a lot with a many different feelings, piling up on top of each other with each minute before the end.
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