Bulgarian culture is a bit of a mystery to the untrained eye, no matter if its music, literature or movies. There are not many Bulgarian movies that get international breakthrough, however, Ralitza Petrova has managed as a film director with movies such as By the grace of God and Godless. We can´t wait to see more of her creative and inspiring work in the feature, and wish her the best of luck!
Ralitza Petrova was born in January 23rd 1976 in Sofia, Bulgaria. Today she lives and works in England, France and Bulgaria. She have been studying fine arts and fiction directing at the National Film and Television School in London. She is inspired of the light and darkness in Rembrandt paintings and try to recreate these dimensions by using a hand camera meanwhile shooting her movies.
Her career started in 2007 when she wrote and directed the movie Rotten Apple a short film that won Prix UIP in Berlin. Her next short movie By the grace of God from 2009 had premiere at Cannes movie festival. She is famous for making dark and heavy movies with a sense of poetry. Petrova call her self a Haiku-director, she explains that haiku is the fastest way to get to reactions, and she is interested in creating emotions through minimalism.
Her latest movie, Godless, makes great success as it continues to win prices all over the world, here are some examples:
- Golden Rose Award, Varna (Bulgaria)
- Top Prize at Reykjavik RIFF Festival (Iceland)
- Best debut from Eastern Europe at Warsaw Film Festival (Poland)
- Best Thriller at South Western International Film Festival, Toronto (Canada)
- Best new talent at Copenhagen CPH Pix Festival (Denmark)
- Bronshäst of the year at Stockholm Film Festival (Sweden)
- Top Award at the Golden Leopard, Locarno (Switzerland)
The movie is about Gana who lives in a small town in Bulgaria, that both God and EU have forgot about, a society that suffers from corruption, poverty and no hope for the future. Gana works as an assisting nurse and steal ID from the dementia people she helps during her work in order to sell them to afford morphine. Click here for more information about Godless
It´s a dark movie and Petrova describes it as a movie about moral and ethical questions. She wants to raise the questions on how do you preserve your soul and dignity in difficult times when everyone has to do what they have to do in order to survive? She got the idea to the movie a couple of years ago when she heard about gangs that were stealing from old people. She want to put focus from the thieves point of view as we live in such a complex society where its difficult to say that everything is either black or white.
Petrova and the Film Future
Ralitza Petrova just got back to Europe from Los Angeles where she tried to find financial help to her next two movies. One of the movies will tell us about a worker in a Bulgarian weapon factory as a comment to the many Kalashnikov´s that end up in the war of Syria comes from Bulgaria. Dust is a movie about hypochondriac upper-class woman that becomes pensioner and forces her son that lives abroad to come back to take care of her.