Glory – Review

Telling the story of a lonesome train track engineer, Tsanko Petrov (Stefan Denolyubov) who on his rounds discovers millions of lev. Instead of pocketing the money for himself, Tsanko reports the money to the authorities and he is heralded as a hero and rewarded by the Ministry of Transport for his efforts with a watch. That does not work.

Tsanko is handled in a PR effort by married woman Julia Staikov (Margita Gosheva) who in a brief spell of bad press for the train industry sees an opportunity to make a good story, the only problem is Tsanko suffers from a debilitating stutter and stammer

Julia is an ambitious woman hell bent on succeeding no matter the cost to integrity putting pressure on her married life with hen-pecked husband, Valeri (Kitodar Todorov) as they attempt IVF treatment for their first child.

At the ceremony, when Tsanko is to be honoured, Julia removes his beloved watch from his wrist for the merits of the ceremony; following on the PR department misplace his watch which he wishes to be returned. What follows is a tale of irresponsibility and arrogance, in an attempt to belittle the hard working labour force with the brute corruption of ministry position.

Image result for glory Margita Gosheva

Shot by Krum Rodriguez utilising hand-held cameras and close to medium shots for the majority of the film, the film is a window into a world of behind the scenes back-baiting and how government laughs at the lower classes, such as when Julia and her team first see the footage of Tsanko laughing at his inability to talk clearly.

The film is a slow burn as most European language films are but there is a power to the performances in the honesty of their portrayal; Denolyubov plays Tsanko as a mild man in a crazy world stuggling to be understood, and Gosheva adds a femme fatale tinge to Julia yet has the power to convey panic such as when she reads a paper in a press conference, her eyes have character.

The ending confrontation between Tsanko and Julia is heart pounding fraught with tension, with a bittersweet ending for Valeri who is happy in his own world whilst his wife does her usual damage limitation.

Grozeva and Valchanov have crafted a morality tale for the these fraught times of frustration and lack of trust in ruling bodies, which can translate well to Western Europe from our Eastern European neighbours.

Glory is distributed by New Wave Films on Friday 5th January.

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