Sofia 1998

  • Ron Holloway


THIRD SOFIA FESTIVAL OF EUROPEAN COPRODUCTIONS Without the Sofia Festival of European Coproductions -- in itself, a rather unique film event on the festival calendar -- there might not have been a revival of Bulgarian cinema at all. The festival, launched in 1996 as "Days of European Cinema" closely on the heels of Cannes, included among a diverse array of European films a half-dozen productions that had either been produced at the local Boyana Studios or could be listed by virtue of services-rendered as legitimate Bulgarian coproductions. That initial festival spotlighted no less than nine Bulgarian co-productions, among these the film that was to compete a few weeks later at Moscow and then was selected to open the Mannheim-Heidelberg festival: Georgi Dyulgerov's Black Swallow (Bulgaria-France). Story elements as Orthodox belief, Moslem presence, traditional gypsy rituals, and post-communist hangovers. This remarkably honest and spiritually profound film about the fate of...