Blaga’s Lessons
Stephan Komandarev
BG – D, 2023, col., 114

Blaga, a retired teacher, falls prey to a phone scam and she’s left robbed of her life savings. The once honest woman starts sacrificing all of her principles.
Best Film at the latest Karlovy Vary film festival,Blaga’s Lessons. , is the Bulgarian nominee for the Academy Awards.

© Svetoslav Stoyanov

Sceneggiatura / Screenplay: Simeon Ventsislavov, Stephan Komandarev
Fotografia / Photography: Vesselin Hristov
Montaggio / Editing: Nina Altaparmakova
Musica / Music: Kalina Vasileva
Suono / Sound: Johannes Doberenz, Olaf Mehl
Scenografia / Art Director: Ivelina Mineva
Costumi / Costume Designer: Nadya Dobrikova
Interpreti / Cast: Eli Skorcheva, Gerasim Georgiev, Rosalia Abgarian, Ivan Barnev, Stefan Denolyubov, Ivaylo Hristov
Produzione / Produced by: Argo Film
Coproduzione / Co-produced by: Bulgarian National Television, 42film.
Distribuzione internazionale / World Sales: Heretic

When a retired, recently widowed teacher falls prey to a phone scam, she’s left robbed of her life savings and without any money for her late husband’s grave. Her life turns upside down when she realises that there’s no way of gaining her money back, up until she receives an alluring, yet suspicious offer for work. The tables turn as she takes matters into her own hands and cash begins rolling in, this time claiming her most prized attribute: her values. Best Film at the latest Karlovy Vary film festival, Blaga’s Lessons is the Bulgarian nominee for the Academy Awards.

“Though Blaga’s Lessons is the last installment in our trilogy (following Directions and Rounds) it is vastly different. The story of our main character Blaga holds a mirror up to a number of painful aspects of Bulgarian society such as: The Bulgarian pensioners abandoned to a humiliating existence – our mothers and fathers. After working their entire lives, today their life is genocide, agony and misery. Meagre pensions, no access to basic 21st century ‘privileges’ such as normal food, adequate medication and medical care, heating at home. Pensioners are also the main target and the usual victims of the obscene Bulgarian phenomenon known as ‘phone scams’. The dreams of a decent life have long since been replaced by a struggle for primitive everyday survival. The loneliness of the Bulgarian pensioners – most of them are separated from their children and grand-children … The faithful representation and understanding of reality is the first requirement for its change, the only condition for fruitful action.” (S. Komandarev)


Stephan Komandarev
Director, producer and scriptwriter, Stephan Komandarev was born in 1966 in Sofia. He graduated in 1999 in Film & TV directing at the New Bulgarian University, where since 2008 is a lecturer. He is a member of the European Film Academy. The Trieste FF presented in 2009 his feature The World is Big and Salvation Lurks Around the Corner and, in 2019, An Unnecessary Hero an episode of Okupacia 1968 a series of short documentaries on 1968 in Eastern Europe and, in 2020, Rounds.

Selected filmography
2000 Pansion za kucheta 2002 Hljab nad ogradata doc. 2003 Azbuka na nadezhdata doc. 2008 Svetat e goljam i spasenie debne otvsjakade (The World is Big and Salvation Lurks Around the Corner) 2014 Sadilishteto (The Judgement) 2017 Posoki (Directions); Premi / Awards: Sarajevo FF – Menzione speciale della giuria / Special Mention of the Jury 2018 An Unnecessary Hero (episodio di / episod of Okupacia 1968 diretto con / directed with Evdokia Moskvina, Linda Dombrovszky, Magdalena Szymków, Marie Elisa Scheidt) 2019 V krag (Rounds); Premi / Awards: Sarajevo FF – Migliore attrice / Best Actress 2021 Life from Life 2023 Urotcite na Blaga; Premi / Awards: Karlovy Vary IFF – Miglior film, Migliore attrice / Best Film, Best Actress

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