A road movie set in present day Bulgaria, a country remains optimistic, mainly because all the realists and pessimists have left. At a meeting with his banker, a small business owner, who drives a cab to make ends meet, discovers the bribe he will have to pay to get a loan has doubled. The ethics board that reviewed his complaint about extortion now wants its share of the action. At his wit's end, he shoots the banker and then himself. The incident sparks national debate on talk radio about how despair has taken over civil society. Meanwhile, six taxi drivers and their passengers move through the night, each in hope of finding a brighter way forward.Written by
Exciting and thought provoking... lack of directions
Story in Bulgarian drama "Directions" (2017), skillfully directed by Stephan Komandarev, almost repeats a basic concept--five taxis-five cities-one night--of the 1991 film "Night on Earth", directed by Jim Jarmusch.
However, while common denominator for five different stories experienced by as many taxi drivers in Jarmusch's movie was one night (on Earth) from the movie title, "Directions" locates all (1+5) taxi drivers in the same city, Bulgarian capital Sofia, thus feeding them with the same talk-of-the-day on the local radio, polarizing the audience about the incident which happened earlier that day... S P O I L E R - A L E R T... brought to us in the introductory story about the small business owner, also driving a taxi to make ends meet, who can only save his business with the help of solely through banker bribery-obtainable, cash infusion loan. Trying to remain as an honest man as he can, already uncomfortable about the bribe he has to pay, when he learns that bribe has doubled in his anger and his shame he shoots the unscrupulous banker and then himself... E N D - O F - T H E - S P O I L E R.
Later that night, characters in a numerous parallel stories (if I counted well, altogether ten stories: the two initial stories (about the high-school student, secretly a "belle de jour" for a classy hotel clientele, and about the corrupt banker), experienced and (or) instigated by the day-time driver, and eight additional stories distributed on and revolving around the five night-time taxi drivers) brought to screen in a more-or-less smooth transitions, by very solid actors with good dynamics between them, keep you interested from the get-go: commencing on already described, extreme start-up incident, inspiring other, fortunately only attempts of radical responses, but never solutions to the ongoing problems.
And while different stories in Jarmusch's omnibus (one of my favourites in his many-wise very enjoyable opus) have a comic relief, although, nevertheless treating some serious issues, Komandarev's stories, save for a few jokes told, are all about the people brought to despair by constant and hopeless exposure to economic suffering and therefore troubled life conditions in a post-glasnost and perestroika, newly emerged democracies of (not only) Bulgarian type, societies not yet well adjusted to, or cultivated for the way too soon introduced, therefore unsustainable European values, people who have lost their compass in life and who need new "directions" to (try to) move forward... Exciting and thought provoking movie.
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