Jun 10 - Jun 12, 2016

(Maya Vitkova, Bulgaria/Romania, 2014, DCP, 155 min)

Viktoria follows three generations of women in the final years of the People’s Republic of Bulgaria and the early years of the new government, focusing on reluctant mother Boryana and her daughter, Viktoria, who in one of the film’s surreal and conceptually suggestive touches is born without an umbilical cord. Though unwanted by her mother, Viktoria is named the Socialist Bulgaria’s Baby of the Decade, and is showered with gifts and attention until the disintegration of the East Bloc. Despite throwing their worlds off balance, the resulting political changes also allow for the possibility of reconciliation between mother and daughter.

Writer-director Maya Vitkova's first feature has the feeling of a held breath; it is a collage of pregnant pauses and quiet turmoil. The cinematography is gentle and subtly absorbing, hovering respectfully but intimately at the periphery of its characters' reservoirs of unexpressed passion. This tension neither subsides nor comes to a head with the collapse of the East Bloc, but leaves a sense both of boundless hope for new building and a bottomless void. The political upheaval simultaneously introduces limitless possibilities and limitless uncertainty, and both are aptly performed by a rivetingly expressive cast and expertly timed editing.

VIKTORIA (dir. Maya Vitkova, Bulgaria)--Official trailer--Opens May 13 in Chicago, June 10 in LA & Seattle! from J. Howell on Vimeo.

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