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Treto poluvreme (2012)
Good, war-time drama blending history, love and sports into an engaging film from a little-known place in Southeastern Europe
This film has been unfairly criticized in my opinion. Even before the film was released, news articles were turning up with angry Bulgarians complaining about the historical accuracy of the film well before it was even viewable to the public. But the film is not about the Macedonian-Bulgarian problem in foreign relations, it is about the Jewish community in that region, the Holocaust, love between a young man and a young woman, and love for football (soccer).
One of the major strengths of the film is the multiple languages used fluently throughout (English, Ladino, German, Serbian, Bulgarian, Roma and Macedonian,), with some of the actors, especially Rade Serbedzija, doing a good, convincing job in their roles. Although the film stretches a few historical points in order to create a better story, it does depict most of the events of WWII in the Balkans correctly. It depicts the ethnic multiplicity in the region of Macedonia before the war, the local resentment to Yugoslav rule, the Axis invasion, the initial support of the local population to Bulgarian occupation, and the expulsion of the majority of Macedonia's Jews to the death camps at Treblinka.
Some criticisms of the film include its length, and the characters. It tries to depict several years, but without effectively portraying the passing from one time to another, leaving the viewer confused as to when the story is taking place at any certain point. Also, many of the characters have little depth, and seem rather one dimensional (although there are a few characters who the audience learns to empathize with).
Other than these criticisms, it is a great film. Bulgarian nationalists' opinions should not decide whether one should see the film or not. During World War II the Bulgarians saved the Jews of Bulgaria from the Nazi death camps, but in the zones they occupied, they rounded up the Jews and sent them to their deaths on their own, without German help. That is what this movie is about. If the Bulgarians want to portray their efforts in saving Jews, watch a different movie.