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FESTIVALS Bulgaria

Sholev provides Shelter at San Sebastian

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Bulgarian director Dragomir Sholev’s debut film Shelter [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
is one of the discoveries at the San Sebastian Film Festival, which continues through Saturday in the Atlantic coastal town. It screens in the Zabaltegi section, which showcases young and new voices in world cinema.

The talky film focuses on a young boy, Rado, who falls in with a couple of slightly older local punks and his parents, who try to deal with the situation, which escalates right at the start of the film. When Rado doesn’t come home for several nights, his parents, worried sick, go to the police to file a missing person report.

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The set- and centrepiece of the film is an impromptu lunch that Rado’s mother prepares for her son and his – not at all his parents’ – two invitees: a cute punkette and a teenage roughneck Rado claims are his new friends. In the screenplay – by the director, veteran Romanian screenwriter Razvan Radulescu and Radulescu’s occasional Dutch collaborator Melissa de Raaf – all the simmering tensions are brought to an impressive slow boil here.

Not surprisingly, despite the Bulgarian language and setting of the film, it fits in snugly with Radulescu’s previous small-time domestic dramas. And as in his previous screenplays – including Tuesday, After Christmas [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Radu Muntean
film profile
]
, Principles of Life [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Constantin Popescu
film profile
]
(also at San Sebastian) and First of All, Felicia [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Melissa de Raaf and Razvan …
film profile
]
, which he directed with De Raaf – the action takes place in and around a family home and over a relatively short period of time.

Interestingly, both Romania and Bulgaria became part of the European Union at the same time, and the fact the country is part of the EU is one of the recurring leitmotivs here, as if the country and its inhabitants should somehow have changed or be on their best behaviour now that they’re part of Europe.

The film, which is naturally acted by a strong ensemble, stars Cvetan Daskalov, Yanina Kasheva, Kaloyan Siriiski, Irena Hristoskova and Silvia Gerina.

Shelter was produced by Rossitsa Valkanova for Klas Film, in co-production with NU Boyana Film and Bulgarian National TV.

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