Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

"Both young actors are impressive here, fully invested in their roles."

Kamen (Ovanes Torosian) is hitchhiking by the side of the road when he meets Avé (Angela Nedialkova). Both are trying to get to Ruse on the north eastern Bulgarian border, so, despite Kamen's hesitation, it makes sense that they share rides. Once they are in a car together, Kamen is shocked when Avé begins to make up stories about him as if they have known each other all their lives. The further they travel together, the more extreme her lies become, yet although he makes clear his rising anger he can't seem to get rid of her. And beneath Kamen's conscientious surface lies a dark secret that forces viewers to reassess the comparative moral values of the two.

A slow-paced, gently evolving tale of two very different people who are gradually drawn together, each learning from the encounter, the film is set against a backdrop of stark Bulgarian landscapes that reflect the characters' unexpressed pain. It's part love story, part coming of age tale, but it doesn't follow a conventional route. Although its protagonists are young and relatively unsophisticated, they are well drawn and believable and become more sympathetic as we get to know them, despite Avé's impetuous unreliability and Kamen's sullen resentment. We don't, in the end, need to rely on what they say to understand what they feel.

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Both young actors are impressive here, fully invested in their roles. Supporting performances are of variable quality but never break the mood. Unfortunately that mood makes the film very heavy going and in places it's simply too slow and uninventive to get away with it. Scenes by which we should be powerfully affected fall flat. There is a necessary sense of waiting for life to begin (or, in some cases, restart), but too often we are left waiting for something to happen.

This film feels like a good idea that never quite develops the way it should, despite the hard work by Torosian and Nedialkova. It is, however, enough to suggest that both are worth looking out for in future.

Reviewed on: 29 Jan 2012
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A young hitchhiker meets an intriguing girl with a penchant for fabulous lies.

Director: Konstantin Bojanov

Writer: Arnold Barkus, Konstantin Bojanov

Starring: Anjela Nedyalkova, Ovanes Torosian, Martin Brambach, Svetla Yancheva, Bruno S., Nikola Dodov, Krassimir Dokov, Katinka Nedyalkova, Maria Petrova, Elena Rainova, Iossif Surchadzhiev, Nikolai Urumov, Bojka Velkova, Ivan Yurukov, Bojidar Zlatkov

Year: 2011

Runtime: 86 minutes

Country: Bulgaria


Glasgow 2012

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