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12-1 Bulgarian Cinema - Coda


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 - Coda

The new Bulgarian cinema. What are its characteristics? Does it really
exist? Is it strong enough to survive in the post-communist environment?
Why does it remain one of the few white spots on the map of the East
European cinema?

These were some of the questions that this paper was trying to answer,
focusing on the last five years, but also tracing back the more durable
tendencies in the previous decades. It was an attempt to determine the
variables but also the constants which stand in the complex equation of
contemporary Bulgarian cinema, with a full knowledge, however, of how
little could be done in such a short form dealing with such a broad subject
-- a whole national film industry.

The following are just some of the topics which have not been
mentioned at all because of length limitation: Bulgarian documentaries and
animated cartoons which, ironically, enjoy much greater international
recognition than their heavy-weight feature brothers ("Conserve-world" was
even nominated for an Oscar), Bulgarian children films, the feminist trend,
the genre movies, the national specifics of acting, cinematography and
montage as essential characteristics of Bulgarian film expressiveness (more
often than not, directing turns out to be the weakest link in many
particular film efforts), the new tendency of film professionals draining
into the TV, the political role of the filmmakers (the third generation
director Evgeni Mihailov with his documentary footage was the prime reason
for the last communist president Peter Mladenov's resignation), the
theoretical, formal and critical presumptions which stand behind Bulgarian
film artists' creative motivation, etc. Unfortunately, even those topics
that have been discussed are pointed out rather than thoroughly analyzed,
but it could not be otherwise. My main concern remains to acknowledge the
mere existence of the subject matter before approaching it
phenomenologically. "My approach to the material is journalistic, rather
than academic," writes Ronald Holloway. This is an approach of an outsider
who was on a field trip to expand his terrain of research. My approach is
that of an insider who is for a while outside of his cultural reality in
order to gain a better perspective on it. If a Western scholar's goal is
to understand and explain, then mine is to reflect and translate. This text
derives its mode of expression directly from its subject, and as a
derivative, not surprisingly, it shares all of the attributes of its
argument: self-reflexivity, heterogeneousness, loquacity, allegorical and
didactic expressiveness, mythological and folklore Weltansicht, uniqueness
and of course. The subject alone determines the syntax in which its tale to
be told -- a syntax that does not distinguish "story" from "history".


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