Ever since they fell in love, Tsveta and Yanko have dreamed about having three children and a big dog. Their dream has come true. Tsveta is a puppet-show director, something she has always wanted to do. Several years ago, Yanko got a USA Green Card, and together with one of his daughters, Vlada, went to New York, where she continued her education at prestigious music school. However, Tsveta got ill and doctors gave a severe diagnosis: multiple sclerosis. Although Yanko's dream of possessing a US passport seemed almost fulfilled, he had to come back to Bulgaria. Film reveals challenges that the family is facing in the new circumstances, and also the way each member is trying to deal with them.
About The People And The Bears
An unsuspecting traveller who enters Bulgaria by car or train may come across a peculiar spectacle at the station or border crossing. Everywhere where tourists from the 'rich West' show up they may see a shabby man who goads a bear to dance by excitedly playing his violin and by ungently pulling the chain that is attached to a ring through the animal's nose. The bear knows exactly on which command he has to lie down as a 'German tourist on the beach' or stand up like a drunkard. In addition he performs some tottering dance steps, the audience applauds and the man hears some coins clinking in his extended cap. Although animals like this are generally treated very cruelly, in this case a strange kind of tenderness and dependence can be discerned in the relationship between the bear and his owner. You might say that the bear's owner is fastened to the other side of the chain. He will always feed the bear first before eating himself and the ponderous bear just sits in the back seat of the car when they are moving to the next port of call. Although the present generation of bear tamers hopes that their children will choose a 'real' occupation, they reluctantly see how their sons prefer to follow in their parents' wandering footsteps. Considering the economic stagnancy in Bulgaria, this becomes increasingly difficult.
Born with the Century
There are many different forms of historiography. In this film, Bulgarian director Eldora Traykova introduces a large number of his 100-year-old compatriots. Their personal stories succeed each other in a lucid, chronological way, indirectly unveiling the history of the country. In their wrinkled hands and faces, the dry facts of the turbulent twentieth century are made vital. Some events are remembered with a smile: a marriage, a day out in the big city, a favourite song. But everybody in his or her own way is marked by the violent crises of the past hundred years. Traykova makes subtle use of historical archive footage and old photographs of the interviewees. On most of these, they look solemnly into the camera, seriously looking to the future, together with husbands, wives and relatives who have died or fallen.Particularly in the case of war, personal memories lend colour to well-known stories. A countrywoman saw 'carts without horses' and 'iron birds' appear. 'This is life!', the farmer's son thought when sleeping in a real bed for the first time as a soldier. A woman witnessed Hitler's rise in Berlin. One war succeeded the other, until the Communists rose to power. An elderly woman still cherishes her Communist medal, though she disapproves of the fact that religion was prohibited at the time. Today, an old man prays before drinking a glass of coke. But a farmer's wife soberly concludes: 'Where is God? I haven't seen him in a hundred years.
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