Rome's 11th Festa del cinema bulgaro set to kick off on 28 June
by Vittoria Scarpa
- Victor Bojinov, Zornitsa Sophia Popgantcheva and Stephan Komandarev will be among the many guests taking part in the competition, which runs until 1 July at Rome’s Casa del Cinema
From 28 June to 1 July, Rome’s Casa del Cinema will once again fly the flag for Bulgarian film. The Festa del cinema bulgaro, now in its 11th year, is making a return to the Italian capital to showcase movies inspired by great works of literature and along the theme of freedom.
There are eights titles set to feature in the line-up: a screening of Heights/The Liberators [+see also:
film profile] by Victor Bojinov will open the festival, in the presence of the director himself and the young star of the film, Alexander Alexiev. Inspired by Milen Ruskov’s novel of the same name (winner of the European Union Prize for Literature in 2014), the film is set in the period of the Russo-Turkish War when Bulgaria was fighting to free itself from the rule of the Ottoman Empire (1877). The lead character is Gicho, a young man who takes up arms in a revolutionary unit and who dreams of ridding his country of foreign rule. After showing great courage in battle, Gicho is chosen by the group’s leader to carry out a special mission, an episode which engenders a series of great adventures.
Voevoda [+see also:
interview: Zornitsa Sophia Popgantcheva
film profile] by Zornitsa Sophia Popgantcheva also traces a Bulgarian “Risorgimento” of sorts, this time from a female perspective. Inspired by a story penned by Nikolay Haitov, the film is set in the 19th century and follows Rumena, a mother who is forced to abandon her son and her home, but who is determined to survive the cruel world in which she lives - wholly dominated by men - by taking command of a rebel group, fighting in the Ottoman-controlled zones of her homeland.
The anthology film, 8 Minutes and 19 Seconds [+see also:
interview: Antoaneta Bachurova, Vladim…
film profile], meanwhile, inspired by six short stories written by the renowned Bulgarian writer Georghi Gospodinov, is the work of some of the most famous young directors Bulgaria has to offer, including Petar Valchanov (The Lesson [+see also:
interview: Kristina Grozeva, Petar Val…
interview: Margita Gosheva
film profile], Glory [+see also:
interview: Petar Valchanov
interview: Petar Valchanov, Kristina G…
film profile]) and Theodor Ushev, whose short animated film, The Blind Vaysha (Oscar-nominated in 2017), will also be screened and is also inspired by a Gospodinov story.
Also featuring in the line-up are Knockout by Niki Iliev, an unusual love story between a man and a woman, both mentally unstable; Omnipresent [+see also:
film profile] by Ilian Djevelekov, where a host of hidden cameras are installed throughout an aristocratic appartment in central Sofia; and the romantic musical comedy, Attraction [+see also:
film profile] by Martin Makariev. Closing the festival will be Directions [+see also:
interview: Stephan Komandarev
film profile] by Stephan Komandarev (previously in competition in the Un Certain Regard section of Cannes 2017), which is a road movie set in the dystopian Bulgaria of the Noughties.
The Festa del cinema bulgaro is organised by The Bulgarian Cultural Institute in Rome, with the crucial support of the Ministry for Culture in the Bulgarian Republic and the Bulgarian National Film Centre.
(Translated from Italian)
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