I first saw this film on an Air France flight. You don’t get a lot of Bulgarian films shown on non-Bulgarian airlines, so you know there’s something special and universal about Glory’s send-up of corrupt government officials, cynical public relations employees and even investigative reporters.
Tsanko Petrov is a stuttering railroad linesman who lives alone with his pet rabbits. One morning, while checking the tracks, he comes upon a large pile of dumped cash. Instead of grabbing it and keeping it for himself, Tsanko contacts the authorities. It so happens that this event coincides with a corruption scandal hitting the Department of Transportation. The department’s PR chief, Julia Staikova, sees a chance to distract attention from the scandal by making a big deal of honoring Tsanko on television. His prize is a cheap digital watch. Just before the live coverage begins, Julia badgers Tsanko into removing his old-fashioned watch, which she tucks away for safekeeping.
As soon as the coverage is finished, Julia loses interest in Tsanko and his watch, which was a keepsake passed on to him by his father. The watch brand is called Slava, or Glory; thus, the double-meaning title. Tsanko tries desperately to retrieve his watch, but Julia has already moved on to other schemes, including getting pregnant before she runs out of…time.
Glory was directed by a married couple, Kristina Grozeva and Petar Valchanov. I had the pleasure of spending time with Valchanov and screenwriter Decho Taralezhkov before moderating a question and answer session with them at a screening arranged by European Film Promotion. I asked Valchanov what it was like collaborating with his wife. He replied, “It’s easy. She directs the film and I do the media interviews.”