Directions Screen 4 articles



Directions Poster
  • Despite the focus on social decay, the filmmaking is consistently alive: much of the action takes place in taxis, and director Stephan Komandarev (The World Is Big and Salvation Lurks Around the Corner) establishes a constant sense of motion, moving briskly from one short, revealing episode to the next. No one actor appears onscreen for very long, but each performs with such intensity that the movie feels like one long, continuous scream.

  • This plays more like a series of shorts of variable quality rather than a coherent whole. Still, Komandarev’s empathy for people struggling to survive as best they can is palpable and admirable. The film could have appeal on the festival circuit like the director’s earlier work, even though viewers will come away with a very vivid, specific portrait of contemporary Sofia in all its seedy splendor.

  • The brevity of each sketch allows both characters and script only quick, superficial, though no doubt pertinent observations and ultimately, this is more of a catalogue of everything that went wrong in Komandarev’s homeland rather than an analysis. Maybe, because - as he claims - you first have to see it all before you can eal with it.

  • At one point a character remarks offhandedly: “Bulgaria is a country of optimists. All the pessimists and realists left long ago.” Yet for a place full of optimists, there sure is a lot of trauma around — suicide, ill health, economic desolation, political disenchantment, social stratification — all of which Komandarev’s clever, fleet-footed film observes with poignant accuracy and flashes of wry humor.

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