Eastern European cinema has changed considerably over the decades, but it has had a tendency to reflect the concerns and problems of normal people. After decades of censorship, as the old Eastern Bloc opened itself up to capitalism and the EU, the nature of its cinema changed. However, disillusionment set in, and with the financial crisis and growing social and political unrest, film-makers have begun to reflect this. The Lesson, Kristina Grozeva and Petar Valchanov’s second film, deservedly picked up a raft of awards. Their latest, Glory, firmly establishes them as the leading lights of Bulgarian cinema.
When railway linesman Tsanko Petrov (Stefan Denolyubov) discovers a large amount of money dumped by the side of a track, he does the honest thing and hands it into the police. Much to the derision of his colleagues. Seeing the chance for some good publicity and to deflect attention from a brewing corruption scandal, the head of the Ministry of Transport’s PR department (Julia Staykova) decides to hold a ceremony to reward the ‘working class hero’.
Glory is a story of honesty, corruption and the way in which the ‘little guy’ is often treated by bureaucracies. Tsanko’s honesty and diligence mean nothing to the PR team who ridicule his dishevelled appearance and severe stutter. When the last thing he has is taken from him, Tsanko becomes increasingly desperate. Whilst the minister (Ivan Savov), and his team, have no interest in anything other than looking good. Glory is darkly comedic at times, but also cleverly makes a number of important points. Not least, regarding the amount of corruption within Bulgaria.
Glory is out in cinemas from 5 January.