Svetat e golyam i spasenie debne otvsyakade (2008) Poster

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Don't miss it
Habibii12 January 2009
I had an opportunity to see this feature during Warsaw Festival. It made an extraordinary impression on me, and not only on me - audience immediately fell in love with it. If you are tired of full of special effects blockbusters on the one hand, and on the other you're not in the mood to watch another depressing art movie, "The world is big.." is the best answer to your demand. Of course, it's not perfect, sometimes it is even awkward - the director still has to work hard on his craft, but, after all this movie will lighten your heart. Life is worth living, life is worth acting, that's what this film is about. Miki Manojlovic is more than charming as an energetic, "crazy" grandfather who teaches his withdrawn grandson how to appreciate life. And - believe me - having watched this movie, you will start thinking about traveling through Europe on bike. Balkan spirit still works!
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The world truly is big and salvation does lurk around the corner...
reb_vodka_04209928 February 2010
I think that Bulgarian cinema is the one I'm the least familiar with; I'm not sure I've seen more than a couple of films from Bulgaria. And yet, here you have this movie practically no one knows and it's a masterpiece. Everything about it is just so breathtakingly beautiful. The characters are so frank it's unbelievable, they find themselves gradually, and at the end you hold your breath expecting to see what is going to happen.

If this were a Hollywood film, I'm pretty certain it would be awful. There are elements in this film that are clichés - but this is where powerful film-making comes into play; you can exploit a cliché in such a way so as to make it a staggeringly original statement.

And even if many times for many of us, it doesn't really seem as though the world is big salvation lurks around the corner, this movie effortlessly makes you believe it does, and that's enough of a reason to watch it.
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identify yourself
pro-phy22 April 2010
Been from Bulgaria, knowing the country, the traditions, the mentality of the people I can tell, that it was great and honest acting - just as you could meet the people and their spirit in the streets.

To my luck, I live in Germany and can also identity and totally understand and even see some of my own experience, feelings and everything the characters are going through on the silver screen as I did myself in the most realistic, authentic and beautifully possible way by settling to an other country. Not only having this background - and even the same name, as the main character Alex - this movie can touch your heart.

Knowing some current Bulgarian movies - in my opinion - this is definitely THE best movie of the past few years. Honestly, I cannot remember anything more touching form any country for some past time. I had wet eyes during some scenes - either it was from laughing or from really deep emotion.

This movie deserves watching.
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Zdravko Bondev24 January 2010
Warning: Spoilers
'The world is big..' is the best Bulgarian film I have ever seen. Excellent plot that's not filled with unnecessary details, great acting, beautiful scenery, stunning characters...

I like how life is compared to a game of backgammon...dice is destiny, and you decide how to move your checkers in order to win.

There are a few mistakes, for example after more than 13 years there wasn't a single spot of rust on the toy-car that Alex left in the pit.

However, I think that even if the film doesn't win an Oscar, Bulgarian film makers have shown that they can actually produce good films, not just pretend to do it.
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Good movie.
noxidog6 May 2010
Let me open with a few relevant personal facts. I am a Bulgarian who immigrated to America with my parents around the age of nine. Initially we stayed at an immigration camp in Italy. Essentially, I have experienced the journey of the young kid.

Based on my personal experience, I think the movie contained quite a few overstatements of facts like the people staying in the camp 3-4 years while their documents were being processed, or the somewhat overstated communist reality in Bulgaria at the time. Among these exaggerations, there were quite a few things that were very accurate however. For example immigrants (profugas) were pretty much fed pasta - most of the time without any sauce - while the UN paid something like $50 per day per immigrant to the camp. This amount would have enabled us to live much better had it been given directly to us.

Thinking about these exaggerations, I am somewhat ready to forgive the makers for resorting to them, since they did amplify the ideas that were being conveyed. Emotions such as the paralyzing fear of the uncertainty ahead that gnawed at every immigrant's soul aren't easily expressed without relying on parable to some degree. Perhaps a more seasoned film maker would have toned things down, but likely not.

I did find a few somewhat pointless episodes like the love scene with the singer, which did nothing for me other than sweeten the happy end. Also I think the movie would have been better served if the Sashko's past hadn't been erased through the use of a somewhat brutally cliché device like the car crash, but through a more psychological one like the dissolution of his parents' marriage or such.

All in all - as other reviewers have posted - although the movie has a number of clichés, it uses them constructively. Rather than deafening or turning off the viewer, the clichés tend to amplify the message to a level that it becomes clearer.

Basically the movie works.
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"The World is Big..." is a Wonderful Movie!!!
dude-spen9 July 2010
A young man who has lost his memories and parents in a car accident is guided by his charismatic grandfather to regain his memories by travelling around Europe, retracing the path the young man and his parents once took when they had illegally migrated from Bulgaria to Germany for a new life. This is the premise of this movie.

This movie was the Bulgaria's official entry into Academy Awards 2009 and it was also shown in many film festivals winning many awards.

I simply loved this movie. With a wonderful and simple story this movie captivates the viewer with the brilliant acting by Miki Mnojlovic and his inducing dialogues. Stephen Komandarev is a wonderful director who knows how to visualize a story. But the story rises above all these and makes the movie a definite must watch.

The movie tells the story of the journey of Bai Dan and his Grandson Alex in search of the real self of the latter. In a parallel story line we witness the plight of the young Alex and his parents for a new life from Bulgaria to Germany. Both the stories go well simultaneously and do not make the viewer bored. This is because of an intelligent and well written screenplay.

I really liked the characterization of Bai Dan, an experienced man whose life is all about the game Backgammon and even his dialogues relate around the game. He once says to his grandson "life is like the dice in our hand, fate is determined by the skill and luck of the player." He has a simple solution to all problems. He never pushes Alex to revoke his old self but with his own innovative techniques he tries to get back his old Alex. He realizes that sitting idly in the hospital can never make Alex any better and he takes him on a cross country trip across Europe and playing Backgammon occasionally.

But this is more than a tale of two people on the road to self-realism. The movie explores into the political situation of Bulgaria during the 1980s. Alex' father, Vasko, gets into trouble with a local communist who wants him to spy on Bai Dan, his father-in-law. He refuses and worrying about the consequences he decides to leave Bulgaria and flee to Germany with his wife and son. We get to see the troubles that they face during their migration and the problems they and the other immigrants from different countries face in the refugee camp.

Backgammon had been given much importance throughout the movie. The movie starts with backgammon and ends with backgammon. Bai Dan's life revolves around backgammon. In Vasko's life also backgammon plays an important part. The game plays also an important role in bringing Alex back into his original life.

The movie talks about the hopes of a small family and their dreams of having a better life somewhere. It tells the forgotten memories, dreams and life of a young man who learns more things when he regains his memories. It tells about a grandfather with full of love for his grandson. It tells how a small game like backgammon can stir the life of people.

I strongly recommend this movie to everyone for the brilliant acting of Mr. Manojlovic, an interesting story, good direction. At the end, everyone wishes for a grandfather like Bai Dan and that's the success of this movie.

~ ~
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Best film i've ever seen
siemok5 February 2010
I can not agree with Juan Brujo's review. Everything in the film industry is a cliché. There is nothing new in the ideas , in the illations etc.. But what makes this movie unique is the way that it is presented. This film is an art. It is like an opera, not everybody can understand it and feel it, but it could make you cry or think deeply about the things of your life. So in my opinion the last review is SUPERFICIAL, or the guy who has written it mistook the movie. It definitely deserves an Oscar. I STRONGLY RECOMMEND you to watch it. You will not lose anything, don't be afraid to watch it. It will "touch" you deep inside.
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The Film has emotional value
vanya_mail16 March 2010
To Hans Grob and all people that come from Western Europe - it is absolutely understandable why you would never appreciate a film like this - you have never lived in a Communist Country, you don't know what it's like and you probably don't understand the whole idea of the film that well... Mr Hans Grob, the old man in the film that you talking about is not the boy's uncle, it is his Grandfather!

This film may not be a master piece but it definitely has emotional value for Eastern Europeans who have experienced the Communist Regime! It describes the life and the people back then adequately and all facts represent true stories from people's lives! Actors emotions and reactions in the film are very close to what one Bulgarian would say or do so I find the film very realistic and definitely the best productions made by Bulgarians after 1989.
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The truth about a nation has many faces, though the facts can show some of it's nature
desyslove10 October 2010
As soon as the movie meets the audience (especially a particular group of generations) it feels like classics. Inspired by auto-biog novel of Ilija Trojanov published in 1996 and directed in 2008 by Stephan Komandarev (coevals born in the middle of Communist era in Sofia, Bulgaria) this move is devoted to the people that were rendered "enemies of the nation" in their own country. Bai Dan is a real Bulgarian (it is worth noting that the role is played by the Serbian, Miki Manojlovic - Underground (1995)) which everyone will agree had met at least once in his life. He is a dice master who knows how to deal with the chances in life, he is brave, he is wild and yet he is naturally wise and humble Christian. Now it is time to play he's most important game - he have to help his grandson to find his lost soul. The personage's character is really admirable and like everything else in the move is marked by the natural charisma of the intelligent masterpiece. There are a lot of background symbols throughout the script and as the movie answers a lot, it inevitably opens the Pandora's box defining the post-communist societies in Eastern Europe. Political issues are presented in a skillful adjunct with the personal drama and doesn't bother with details and references more than necessary while standing in the heat zone. Perfect camera, astonishing sight-seeings - this move is a real advertisement and an open invitation for the artists and the common EU travelers.
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Simple, amazing, emotional and multi-layered
Boyan Yurukov5 February 2010
Warning: Spoilers
There is definitely a bit of a hype about this movie, so I was skeptical at first. Some people say the cinematography is simple and the movie is full of cliché, but I don't agree. In the background there are a very important points from the the communism in Bulgaria, the current political life here, life of immigrants and the separated families. The cinematography isn't full of effects or dramatic shots - to get just what you need in order to feel the pain, despair and hope of the characters. Through the movie you will see how one man's life is being rebuilt from ashes and follow the path that got him in the depressing place he was before the beginning of the movie.

You should definitely see it. It's hard to explain.
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peretasi12 June 2011
Pros: Very natural film. Very good reproduction of the communist Bulgaria and the lives of people who tried to survive that time outside and inside Bulgaria. The emotions go through the whole film without breaks. Excellent acting, excellent cinematography by inter-twisting the past and the present without losing the pace of emotions. Very simple and strong plot. Another confirmation that the perfection is actually in simplicity.

Cons: One mark on the leading actor Carlo Ljubec...his accent made it difficult to go deep in the role. As if he was struggling with speaking out his lines in Bulgarian which was not an advantage but Miki Manolovic play was so strong that balanced this.
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Good movie with consistent story
sava_chankov15 March 2008
I went to the theater with low expectations of another boring post-totalitarian Bulgarian movie and was pleasantly surprised - it had an actual story which was told consistently, the characters were lively, there were no irritating protracted shots in silence (trademark to many, many other Bulgarian movies) and the dialogue was real. While based on a novel the movie elegantly manages to stay focused and the plot is not overstretched.

Things I didn't like: the one-sided densely evil picture of the totalitarian oppressors that rendered them preposterously inhuman, the clichéd camera (e.g. yellowish retrospectives, rotation around characters while they played backgammon) and superfluous didacticism in some scenes.

All in all it's worth watching, but eight years of script rewriting could yield a bit better result.
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A heartwarming family tale and the trials and tribulations of Eastern European refugees, but the story doesn't entirely hang together
Christopher Culver19 March 2017
This 2008 film by Stefan Komandarev, a loose adaptation of a novel by Ilija Trojanow, is both a heartwarming family tale and a biting critique of Communist-era Bulgaria. Alexander "Sashko" Georgiev (Carlo Ljubek), who was born in Bulgaria and came to Germany as a child, is the sole survivor of a car crash that kills his parents. Due to the trauma, he initially cannot recall anything of his former life. His grandfather, Bai Dan (Miki Manojlović), visits from Bulgaria and, with the help of some tough love, tries to get him out of his funk and reawaken his memories. Bai Dan is a larger-than-life character, one of those wild, freespirited guys who somehow managed to survive here and there in Eastern Europe in spite of the greyness of society and the endless hassles by the authorities. Bai Dan is also an obsessive backgammon player who believes the game very directly relates to our lives. As Bai Dan and Sashko set off east from Germany, on a tandem bicycle back towards the old family home in Bulgaria, Sashko starts to remember, and the audience discovers in flashbacks the dramatic events that led his family to flee Bulgaria under Communism.

This is an enjoyable little film. The political subtext adds some depth to the film and its scenes of a refugee camp and the frustrated aspirations of ordinary, hardworking people are especially relevant as I write this review. But that political touch is never heavy-handed, and what will strike most viewers is the common humanity of this family that lovingly stayed together through thick and thin. A remarkable thing is that neither of the main actors are themselves Bulgarians. Miki Manojlović has been a mainstay of Yugoslav and Serbian cinema for decades (Western audiences are most likely to know him from Kusturica's UNDERGROUND), but he learned Bulgarian well enough to pass as one of them. Similarly, Carlo Ljubek was born in Germany to Croatian immigrants.

In spite of being worthwhile on one viewing, it is hard to rate this film more than average due to some peculiar aspects of the story. A romantic interest is written in, but she comes too late and Bai Dan's motivations in pushing Sashko to pursue her just baffle. The characters' actions were strange enough that I started to wonder if there was originally more material here, but Komandarev had to cut it out to achieve his 145-minute running time. Still, worth a try for anyone open to Central and Eastern European cinema, and Bai Dan is certainly the grandfather everyone wishes they had.
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A film you must see
Ann Ingram20 February 2015
Warning: Spoilers
This is one excellent movie. It is close to a real life story as a movie could be. It is a movie for a young man, not only returning his memories, but growing up to a man, what man should be. It is also e movie for one old man fighting may be the last of his many battles to help another human being not only to get up on his feet but even to run. With this movie you not only learn historical facts from the 80s for this part of the world and also learn many customs and life approaches to compare between central Europeans and Bulgarians. But what it from this film for me is its liars. You can dig through them and find more and more beautiful allegories and messages. It is a beautiful picture for your eyes, good things to think about and good life stories to cry about.
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Vastly overrated
Hans Grob28 September 2009
May be fascinating for Bulgarians, but for the rest the story looks often like a non-interrelated artificially constructed patchwork. The only enthralling scenes are from the life behind the iron curtain, where the ubiquitous police state shows its strength.

The director could not omit again to add a love scene, but it is the most ridiculous ever: the son dances, he retreats, his uncle tells him to go back to the girl for introducing himself, - cut - they are already naked swimming in a sea .... We have all seen this a thousand times already.

Also the decision to cycle strikes like lightning: the uncle just shows him the bike and tells him: get up. It is not explained how he got the idea and the vehicle.
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Worst film I've ever seen
Dr. Smoke28 January 2010
We start with a cliché and we end with a cliché. And guess whats in the middle? The world is cliché and boredom lurks around the corner - this pretty much sums up what this film is all about. About the cinematography.... like in Bulgarian bank loans commercials is being gentle with it. You just don't put every trick in the book & this direction and hope you will get away with it. But it actually works, this stupid little movie is praised a lot, mainly from the jurors at festivals and why is that I will never understand. Maybe they look at a movie differently then the common people. Cause if you seek fake drama and suffering from the characters and the inevitable happy end this film is full of it. But it has nothing else. The rare funny moments are clichés again, loads of Kusturica lurks around the frames, the acting of most of the people is poor but this is a general problem with Bulgarian movies, cause our so called film school just don't have the ground and people to teach the kids in cinema anymore, and they end up fake on the screen cause there are differences between theater and cinema acting and the teachers never seem to got that right. And also just a few movies are made in Bulgaria and they are all done with the same actors, crew, plots and always involve love, drama and suffering. Most of the Bulgarian movies look, sound and feel like this movie which is just shame and waste of money. And If this movie gets nominated for Oscar, I will never consider this thing a reward anymore.
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poor writer Troyanov
schtetter-gerry8218 March 2010
The novel baring the same name is fabulous. It is filled up with depth and meaning of profound allusions. The script out of it is flat deprived from the richness of life of emotions. But what is worse in the film is the direction. If there is any. The beauty of the plot is set like amateur play with pale acting and unconvincing appearances with the only exception the incredible Miki Manoilovic. I really wonder if the author Troyanov could possible like the film having the same title as the lovely novel. It sounds more like an offense to claim it is on the same oeuvre. Poor Troyanov deserves a much adequate work for cinema to be able to compete to the power of his imagination and not this nonsense.
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Nice but nothing special
Sci3nc320 March 2010
I liked it. I have to say that I expected something more thrilling. I find it as decent try to reveal the history (and the present days) in almost all post communist countries. (Especially the fact the the National Security Agents are ruling these countries or are at managerial position at big companies.) OK lets focus now. I assume it could be done better with more details what was the communist regime, but I see that this is not the plot. I also assume this movie is targeted to post communist Europe, others can hardly understand it. Congrats for the crew once again and all movies makers from the region. I can see the the last several years they have been revived from the dead and their movies go to theaters.
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Vastly overrated, indeed!
truwarrior21 December 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I just saw "Eastern plays" (also Bulgarian movie) and was really disappointed and gave it really bad comment. But, this movie is even worse. It is just terrible copy of some Kusturica works, mixed with completely naive direction. I don't know if this director ever saw any movie that is done in 21st century. It is full of big words, fake artism and - well, maybe I am stupid, but this movie is about nothing. Movie is so pretentious, making audience burst into laughter aloud. Almost all the shots, dialogue, scenes were seen at least billion times in other, better movies. I can not believe somebody takes this movie serious. I saw the list of awards this movie received - and I just don't know what the other movies competing with this one were like. Anyway, I don't want to be a bore - skip this movie, you will save some money and more important, some time.
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It aims for the stars, only to burn up in the atmosphere
aberdeen_angus8 April 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Okay, so let me begin by saying this. I've probably given far worse titles a 5/10, but I couldn't give a higher rating here.

The World is Big is a good movie, just not as good as it think it is. It's short of greatness by its own desire to get everything right: it wanted to achieve political, familiar, historical, emotional, and generational resonance. In the end you're left feeling manipulated by an average product that could've been so much better but falls short.

The flashback story is perhaps the best part of the movie, definitely the one that flows more naturally. It's gripping and bittersweet even when flawed or unnecessarily cliché in some parts.

The present day is the weakest hands down. Everything about it is so saccharine and superficial you just can't take it seriously. And don't take me wrong, I have no problems with happy endings, I just don't like feeling like I'm watching a folksy love song's MV.

And don't get me started on the shoehorned love story. It makes me cry. Of anger.
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