Bulgaria The Sinking of Sozopol

 

What do a house in the Old Town of Sozopol left to the ravages of time, a middle-aged man, and ten bottles of vodka have in common? The answer is simple – the past. The past, which leaves the house to fall apart alone and uninhabited, leaving the man to go back to his memories and to attempt to make sense of the chaos within them with the help of ten bottles of vodka. And once he's finished them, he expects "that something has to happen. The Sinking of Sozopol" is a film with no sugar-coating. It shows one human life with all the unpredictable abysses that open up, as well as our after-the-fact attempts to understand and change them. It shows true human weakness and the strength that we need to resign ourselves to things that are already etched in stone and cannot be erased. This is also the reason that the film is so realistic and, I believe, close to the viewer. "The Sinking of Sozopol" is a mirror of our reality and more exactly – of one generation, with its specific life crises, which have affected every single life in one way or another, to some extent or another. There is art that flees from reality, idealizes it, so as to make existing within it easier, to make it more bearable, and other art, which shows it as it is. It puts a friendly arm around our shoulders and says – "Look, you're not alone, you're not the first, and you won't be the last – we all pass through these storms." Sozopol, as shown to us by DOP Konstantin Zankov, is desolate, empty and gloomy – a world that has been built anew. Sozopol with lots of rain, few colors, little presence – a city where you go to die ( What better place than Sozopol? Chavo asks. The shots – whether outside (gray, pale and symmetrical) or inside in the old house (with its melancholy paintings, naked walls and rough furnishing) – are exceptionally minimalistic and monochromatic. They show absence, rather than presence. I believe that even if they had been black-and-white, they could not have managed to convey that oppressive, doomed feeling more effectively. Despite this, the ending is beautiful and moving. Something happens not after, but along with the tenth bottle of vodka. The path is discovered within others, and not in solitude. And while Sozopol is being swallowed up by an endless storm and slowly sinking into the sea, Chavo raises himself up out of ruin. He remains above the dark, all-encompassing water. The last bottle of vodka is drunk the fastest. And the rain doesn't stop. But right at that moment, that doesn't matter at all. Hristian Yovchev Under the Bridge Magazine, Sofia, 28.11.2014.