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For a young rock’n’roll fan, Bulgaria in 1971 was a distinctly un-swinging place to be. An oppressive Communist government blamed it firmly on the boogie and for a young hip cat like Ahmet (Aleksander Ivanov), life is grey and dull. So, when his father walks almost 100km to the nearest town, to buy him a new radio, it’s a truly heartwarming gesture. But beyond this tribute to paternal love, this fantastic screenplay addresses deeper issues that were at play behind the Iron Curtain. Director/writer Rouzie Hassanova’s film portrays the difficult lives of Muslims in Bulgaria, eking out a living in the rough, wild countryside. The family’s local Party officials are pressuring Muslims to convert to Christianity and Ahmet’s radio is broken – there are difficulties to surmount everywhere, large and small. This beautifully-shot and poignant film is part paean to the director’s own childhood in Bulgaria and a subtle, powerful treatise on dignity and fortitude in the face of bigotry and totalitarianism.
2017 / Bulgarian dialogue with English subtitles / Colour / 84 mins
Genre: Drama
Programme: Cinema of the World
Premiere: MENA Premiere
Rating: 12+
Contains: Adult References and Violence
Director: Rouzie Hassanova
Producer: Gergana Stankova
Scriptwriter: Rouzie Hassanova
DOP: Kiril Prodanov
Editor: Tymoteusz Wiskirski, Natasha Westlake
Cast: Yana Titova, Alexander Hadjiangelov, Aleksandar Aleksiev, Alexander Ivanov, Stephan A. Shtereff, Stefan Mavrodiev