Eastern Plays / Източни пиеси (Bulgaria/Sweden, 2009)

directed by Kamen Kalev, drama, 83 min, eng subtitles
written by Kamen Kalev
with Hristo Hristov, Ovanes Torosyan, Saadet Aksoy

Hristo is a frustrated yet talented artist, earning a shabby living working in a furniture-making shop. He is also prone to bouts of severe depression and anxiety as he tries to get his life together after years of heroin addiction. One night, he gets drunk at a restaurant after dumping his needy girlfriend and stumbling home he witnesses a racist attack on a Turkish man, his wife and daughter. To his utmost surprise and horror, he finds himself face to face with his younger brother Georgi who, it seems, has decided to escape an empty home life with a domineering father and stepmother by hanging out with a group of skinheads and neo-Nazis. The incident has a strong impact on both brothers: Georgi reconsiders his involvement with the gang and Hristo sees a ray of hope in his newly developed feelings for beautiful Isil.

Director Kamen Kalev's impressive debut film Eastern Plays begins as if it were just another example of gritty realism from Eastern Europe, but evolves into a sensitively observed portrait of a young man struggling to find himself after years as a drug addict.

Cannes 2009 (Director's Fortnight)
Bratislava IFF 2009 (Best Actor, Best Director, Prize of the Ecumenical Jury and Grand Prix)
Tokyo IFF 2009 (Best Actor Award, Best Director Award, Tokyo Grand Prix)
Warsaw IFF 2009 (Grand Prix)
LUX Prize of European Parliament 2009
Sofia IFF 2010 (Best Bulgarian Feature Film)
Las Palmas FF 2010 (Best First Time Director)