Directed by Kristina Grozeva, Petar Valchanov, drama, 87 min, eng subtitles, 16+
Written by Petar Valchanov, Kristina Grozeva
With Ivan Barnev, Ivan Savov, Tanya Shahova, Hristofor Nedkov, Nikolay Todorov, Boyan Doychinov, Margita Gosheva, Ivanka Bratoeva
Vassil is a successful painter living in seclusion, and a controlling patriarch who is convinced that his wife Valentina, who recently passed away, is still spiritually orbiting around and even trying to communicate something important to him. Their son Pavel is worried about what he sees as the foolishness of his father’s behaviour and beliefs. At the same time, Pavel lies on the phone to his wife about his mother’s death. After an elderly neighbour claims that the deceased Valentina keeps phoning her, Vassil’s obsession deepens. This fuels his decision to get in touch with his late wife via Doctor Ruvi, a new-age medium who takes good money for advising people to clear their energy fields by sleeping on meteorites in the forest. A series of comic situations arises from the two men’s inability to face their complicated feelings of grief and remorse.
The film-making duo, Kristina Grozeva and Petar Valchanov, are known for exploring absurd situations and attitudes in post-communist Bulgaria. Unlike their first two critically acclaimed films, The Lesson (2014) and Glory (2016), The Father is an engaging comedy-drama about human loss and the irrationality of running away from grief.
The film won the Crystal Globe for Best Film at the 54th Karlovy Vary IFF.