Cold northern git samples some emotional cinema

25/05/2009 by Christopher Buxton

Прогноза (Forecast) Bulgaria, 2008
Directed by: Zornitsa Sophia
Writing credits: Emil Bonev, Alexey Kozhuharov
Cast: Teodora Duhovnikova, Kresimir Mikic, Deyan Slavchev–Deo,
Assen Blatechki, Julian Vergov, Stefan Shterev

Quick pitch: Improbable Croatian media magnate pursues Bulgarian beauty all the way from London to a Turkish island where she is windsurfing with unlikely group of Balkan men. Through magnificent sulks and identity crises love wins through.

What the git learnt:

Rule number one : all kinds of bad, mad, irrational and sulky behavior are excused if you are of Balkan origin and especially if you are in love. You can bash your bicycle into some strange man’s car in the middle of London, suggest he take you out to dinner, demand he take you back to his place indefinitely but not for sex, discover that he owns a TV station, change your appearance to shimmering blonde, buy him an unwanted goldfish, take the moral high ground over his improbably shallow cynicism, claim to be a journalist and blag a reporter’s job from him, then stand in front of a TV camera crew and say nothing for take after take, then cut up all his clothes, steal his windsurfing board and cross Europe dressed like a prostitute.

Rule number two: if you find yourself in a decadent western flat where a sharp noise will activate the lights, why not slap your partner’s face really hard. In the hopes that he will retaliate – then you can provide a lights show for the neighbours. It just goes to prove that money and a smart pad in London does not give you identity or happiness. “An address is not a home.”

Rule number three: when crossing Turkey with your brother and a company of windsurfers make sure you join in a manly pissing contests from a high bridge even if you are a woman. Otherwise you might get left behind and a sulky expression will not save you from lecherous lorry drivers – especially as your skimpy top seems to have lost all sticking power.

Rule number Four: Balkan peace is possible providing there is wind for windsurfing. Otherwise some provocative journalist will get under the skins of the Bulgarians, the Macedonian and the Serb and suddenly knives are drawn. The Serb calls the Macedonian a southern Serb. Bulgarians add a pepper smeared in toothpaste to red and green hang them round their necks and sing out their defiance and pride in giving the world bacilli and viruses.

Rule number five: real men cry when their fishing tackle and maggots are blown up. They suddenly discover their Balkan identity. It gives them super-strength to shift heavy rocks to spell out the words: FORGIVE ME.

Rule number six: Balkan women’s hearts melt when they spot a rocky plea for forgiveness. They gaze out from their cave and allow rear access to their lover.

Rule number seven: Turks are suckers for love. Even hard fisted lorry drivers will melt when told that the guy who has barred their way onto the ferry is in love.

Rule number eight: If you have been swept out to sea on a surf board and been exposed to the elements for 48 hours, you don’t need any water to revive you. A Croatian kiss will restore you to full health and even put bounce into your hair.

In London the film was described as being part of a new genre of “optimistic realism” – no doubt to counter the success of Romanian films whose realism is decidedly negative. And indeed the tone is remarkably sunny. Despite all the outrageous behavior, no-one is hurt and there is nothing to please Volen Ziderov. Turkish rescue services are assiduous in trying to rescue the silly Bulgarian girl and the search is only stopped by the proximity of Greek territorial waters.
In short, times of national crisis calls for happy slappy stereotypes, romance and oodles of Euro-folk music.