Bulgarian writer director stephan komandarevs best known previous movie such as the widely travelled 2008 intergenational oscar submission the world is big and salvatiomn lurks around the corner and 2014 border set drama the judgment have put the issues of immigration and emigration right at the heart of their stories. With his have put the issues of immigration and emigration right at the heart of their stories. With his latest directions which screened in cannes un certain regard section that theme is once again present but komandareve this time focuses more closely on the tortured soul of bulgarians who havent left their native land or at least not yet.
A criss crossing narrative that hops from taxi to taxi over the course of roughly a day and night this plays more like a series of shorts of variable quality rather than coherent whoel. Still komandarevs empathy for people sturggling to survive as best they can is palpable and admirable. The movie could have appeal on the festival circuit like the direction earlier work even though viewers will come away with a very vivid specific portrait of contemporary sofia in all its seedy splendor.
The first instigating vignette is in some ways the best one. After dropping off his 12 year old daughter the director own kid anna komandareva at school small businessmam misho vassil vassilev zuek who drieves a taxi to earn extra cash picks up another teenager borislava stratieva who turns out to be moonlighting herself as a prostitute. He argues with her about her life choices and takes her back to school before going on to meet the dead eyed banker popov georgi kadurin with whom misho has dealings. Angry that misho has complained about popovs corruption popov puts the squeeze on him for more money otherwise he have all of mishos assests seized. At the end of his tether misho shoots popov dead and then turns the gun on himself managing to put himself in a coma.
The following stories are tied together by the fact that they too all take place in taxis and as the evening wears on in each car the drivers listen to a local talk radio station where callers take up a variety of positions about mishos shooting of popov with some decrying his criminality and others hailing him a hero. Poor misho however is clearly doomed because in the second self contained segment female cabbie rada irini zhambonas picks up the heart surgeon who is en route to the hospital to perform a tasnplant moving mishos heart into that of an unemployed baker. On the way rada and he discuss how dysfunctional the country has become and how much the surgeon is looking forward to leaving to take up a new job in hamburg.
Directions movie a series of taxi rides to create a mosaic portrait of life,