When the USSR began to rupture at the end of the twentieth century, the transition from Communism to Capitalism wasn’t exactly a smooth one for most countries. Even countries which have now been integrated into the EU aren’t exactly the most progressive when it comes to human rights, diversity, multiculturalism, LGBT+ rights and gender equality. Not to mention corruption and abuse of political powers. Bulgaria comes under the spotlight in Women Do Cry.
In modern Bulgaria, a family tries their best to deal with the big and small ignominies of daily life. Sonja’s (Maria Bakalova) life is turned upside down when she discovers that her partner is in fact married, has a child and is HIV positive. Doctors don’t want to treat her, blaming her lack of morals for her predicament. Her father is little better. This complicates an already strained relationship with her sister Lora (Ralitsa Stoyanova), who was forced to abandon her dreams to support their alcoholic mother.
Women Do Cry is a painfully raw evocation of past and present gender inequalities in Bulgaria. The acting is breathtakingly fierce, ripping and tearing into a myriad of social issues with almost hysterical glee. This is the great strength of Vesela Kazakova and Mina Mileva’s hard-hitting and provocative film, along with the ‘sisterly’ bonds which are sorely tested but never break. While the family squabbles restlessly, it’s this shared intimacy and love which makes Women Do Cry so powerful.
Women Do Cry screens at Glasgow Film Festival.