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12-1 Bulgarian Cinema - Allegorical Expressionism




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This article is from the Bulgaria FAQ, by Dragomir R. Radev radev@tune.cs.columbia.edu with numerous contributions by others.

12-1 Bulgarian Cinema - Allegorical Expressionism

Ironically, this second and most
significant attribute of the subject was developed as a reaction to the
first one and the mechanisms which stood behind it. The most talented
directors of the first generation -- Rangel Vulchanov, Binka Zhelyazkova,
Hristo Ganev and Hristo Piskov -- partially influenced by la politique des
auteurs, partially trying to create their own way of expression not easily
susceptible to censorship, defined with their early works a "cinema of
poetics", a poetic realism which was compared with Italian neo-realism,
with the Polish School of Andrzej Wajda and Andrzej Munk, and with the
Hungarian films of Zoltan Fabri. The milestones of that Bulgarian School
were: On the Small Island (1958), We Were Young (1961), Sun and Shadow
(1962), The Peach Thief (1964), The Attached Balloon (1967) and Iconostasis
(1969). Later on, in the seventies, in the age of political cynicism and
disillusionment, the language of the Bulgarian cinema of poetics
deteriorated from its lyrical stance to much a more allegorical and ironic
one. The philosophic and moral parables, political allegories and bitter
satires proved to be the most durable genre in the last two decades. The
Hare Census (1973), Cricket in the Ear (1976), Cyclops (1976), The Swimming
Pool (1977), Panteley (1978), With Love and Tenderness (1978), The Roof
(1978), Short Sun (1979), Barrier (1979), Illusion (1980), The Big Night
Bathe (1980), White Magic (1982), Last Wishes (1983), Where Are You Going?
(1986), Exitus (1989) and Thou Which Art in Heaven (1990) are just a few
examples of this steady trend, while some of the most acclaimed works of
the seventies -- The Advantage (1977) and The Unknown Soldier's Patent
Leather Shoes (1979) -- were late bloomers of the classical poetic realism
from the first period.

 

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