Dreaming of the West, Boryana is determined not to have a child in communist Bulgaria. Nonetheless, her daughter Viktoria enters the world in 1979, curiously missing a belly button, and is declared the country's Baby of the Decade. Pampered by her mother state until the age of nine, Viktoria's decade of notoriety comes crashing down with the rest of European communism. But can political collapse and the hardship of new times finally bring Viktoria and her reluctant mother closer together?Written by
John Nein, Senior Programmer (Sundance Institute)
Viktoria (2014)is the best Bulgarian movie after 1989, because it is honest and personal "coming of age story" about the transition from socialism to liberal democracy in Bulgaria, told from unique female perspective.( And if this is not enough it was shot from the best cinematographer, edited from the best editor( Alexander Etimov 1976-2014 RIP) and scored from the best film composer in Bulgaria at the time.) You cannot argue with the film because it is pure emotion and vision. It is not a statement, it is a dream. Even if you not agree with it's surreal picture of communist Bulgaria, you must accept it as a personal memory. This film is an apology for every man's right to have his/her own opinion and memory of the changing world around. Victoria is the best Bulgarian movie after 1989, not because it is showing a new way to make cinema, but it is showing a new way (for Bulgaria) to tell stories. A way to tell your personal stories, without vanity and fear. A way to be completely honest and sincere, not only with the audience, but mostly with yourself. This film is not about "Art", it is about Life. Life as a personal and very intimate experience. In Bulgaria for many years life and art were collective, it is a trend that it is going on even now. People and artists still do not have the courage to speak for themselves honestly. They always "represent" some "public opinions". They "create projects" which are expected to be liked from their "target audiences". ( specially film festival audiences! ) It is not very different from the times before 1989, when art and life were a "project" for collective well-being. In the past all the "stories" needed to be the "correct" ones and this trend continues in another way today. Today life and art are just a "project for personal well-being", which doesn't include honest storytelling. You are not allow to just "be" yourself, to tell your story, the way you feel it. You must "create" yourself using a lifestyle model. It looks like to be a completely free man who is able to tell the story of his/her life as he/she feels it is equally difficult thing in both sides of the Berlin wall. In my opinion this is what makes the movie "Victoria"- The Best Bulgarian Movie After 1989! Because it gives you perspective from the "both sides" and makes you think about your personal experience in this period and find out how confusing was for all of us, but still how we miss it and love it. At the end "we really don't know life at all" but still we can love it. Because it was Our Life, the live of our parents and grandparents, it was not a lifestyle model. The naked truth is that we were happy kids in communist Bulgaria, as much happy, as the kids in the "other side". Happiness is not a political concept, it is not in our desires, it is not about lifestyle and social position. Happiness it is a feeling from the childhood when we first discover the world and it is deeply connected with the image of our mothers and fathers.Great cinema teach us that Life is Beautiful (La Vita è Bella 1997), even in a concentration camp, if we are with a loving parent. The way to happiness always goes backwards, with the years... As the director Maya Vitkova said in an interview: "My goal is people from the audience to call their mothers after the film is over!"
"I've looked at life from both sides now, from win and lose, and still somehow it's life's illusions I recall, I really don't know life at all." Joni Mitchell - Both Sides, Now from the LP "Clouds", 1969
P.S. The world really needs more "woman's touch" in 21st century cinema and not only in cinema. Call your mothers and do not write hateful reviews, please. Keep Calm and Surrender To The Divine Feminine! :)
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