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Transnational Bulgarian cinema: pieces of the past, present and future

Transnational Bulgarian cinema: pieces of the past, present and future
Transnational Bulgarian cinema: pieces of the past, present and future
My thesis investigates issues of sustainability and belonging surrounding the Bulgarian feature film industry. There is a limited body of scholarship on Bulgarian cinema, most of which focuses on film aesthetics and fails to account for the socio-historical and industrial context of local film creation, dissemination and consumption. My work is a continuation of Dina Iordanova’s New Bulgarian Cinema (2008) which promoted the idea of cross-Balkan creative collaborations. In contrast, I see pan-Balkan alliances as simply one part of the transnational co-operation and appropriation practices that have shaped Bulgarian film culture. I reveal that early productions like The Bulgarian Is Gallant (Vassil Gendov, 1915) and Cairn (Alexander Vazov, 1936) sought to reaffirm Bulgaria’s place in European culture and act as a business bridge between the East and the West. During Communism (1944-1989) the Bulgarian Poetic Realist movement and the detective cycle appropriated narrative and aesthetic ideas from, respectively, the Italian Neorealism and British/American spy movies, achieving sustainability not necessarily reliant on state funding. With the shift to an open market economy, I show how the notion of national cinema changed under different legislation as did the balance between state subsidy and private funding. The tension between the art-house canon and contemporary domestic audiences’ idea of Bulgarian cinema is evident in my case-studies of The World Is Big and Salvation Lurks Around the Corner (Stephan Komandarev, 2008), Mission London (Dimitar Mitovski, 2010) and Love.net (Ilian Djevelekov, 2011). The emergence of the Sofia International Film Festival, digital distribution and piracy further redefined the cinema experience in Bulgaria. The case of Bulgaria illustrates the complexities of describing a small national cinema in an environment of legislative and economic inconsistency. It exposes the need for overcoming stereotypes when examining Eastern Europe and questions the existence of singular definitions when it comes to European film culture.
University of Southampton
Nedyalkova, Maya
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Nedyalkova, Maya
0e078907-0e0d-4940-b4bb-b700aa181938
Mazdon, Lucy
fdf3a464-0131-4f73-ab53-eb37e2745d56
Keenan, Sally
399114e1-a949-47a1-8f67-df1465bbfbac

(2015) Transnational Bulgarian cinema: pieces of the past, present and future. University of Southampton, Faculty of Humanities, Doctoral Thesis, 291pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

My thesis investigates issues of sustainability and belonging surrounding the Bulgarian feature film industry. There is a limited body of scholarship on Bulgarian cinema, most of which focuses on film aesthetics and fails to account for the socio-historical and industrial context of local film creation, dissemination and consumption. My work is a continuation of Dina Iordanova’s New Bulgarian Cinema (2008) which promoted the idea of cross-Balkan creative collaborations. In contrast, I see pan-Balkan alliances as simply one part of the transnational co-operation and appropriation practices that have shaped Bulgarian film culture. I reveal that early productions like The Bulgarian Is Gallant (Vassil Gendov, 1915) and Cairn (Alexander Vazov, 1936) sought to reaffirm Bulgaria’s place in European culture and act as a business bridge between the East and the West. During Communism (1944-1989) the Bulgarian Poetic Realist movement and the detective cycle appropriated narrative and aesthetic ideas from, respectively, the Italian Neorealism and British/American spy movies, achieving sustainability not necessarily reliant on state funding. With the shift to an open market economy, I show how the notion of national cinema changed under different legislation as did the balance between state subsidy and private funding. The tension between the art-house canon and contemporary domestic audiences’ idea of Bulgarian cinema is evident in my case-studies of The World Is Big and Salvation Lurks Around the Corner (Stephan Komandarev, 2008), Mission London (Dimitar Mitovski, 2010) and Love.net (Ilian Djevelekov, 2011). The emergence of the Sofia International Film Festival, digital distribution and piracy further redefined the cinema experience in Bulgaria. The case of Bulgaria illustrates the complexities of describing a small national cinema in an environment of legislative and economic inconsistency. It exposes the need for overcoming stereotypes when examining Eastern Europe and questions the existence of singular definitions when it comes to European film culture.

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More information

Published date: September 2015
Organisations: University of Southampton, Film

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 388467
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/388467
PURE UUID: 79d12564-66ea-4c48-a278-6144453adf47

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 29 Feb 2016 13:49
Last modified: 31 Dec 2019 05:01

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Contributors

Author: Maya Nedyalkova
Thesis advisor: Lucy Mazdon
Thesis advisor: Sally Keenan

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