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The Swimming Pool (15*) + Introduction

Hidden Figures: Binka Zhelyazkova

A woman stares to camera with a swimming pool in the background

In one of Binka Zhelyazkova’s few colour films from 1977, a study in late socialist ennui across the streets of Sofia, a jilted young woman starts a relationship with an older man, an ex-partisan.

After her prom night, as her classmates celebrate their graduation by a swimming pool, Bela (Yanina Kasheva) contemplates suicide by jumping off the pool’s tower. There, she meets Apostol (Kosta Tsonev), a middle-aged architect and ex-partisan who later introduces her to his best friend. An unlikely triangle forms: between friendship, jealousy, and budding romance.

An earnest depiction of late socialist ennui, one of Zhelyazkova’s few films shot in colour, turns inwards, exploring the experiences of what it is to be a young woman in the city. Filmed on location in the streets of Sofia, The Swimming Pool often merges the fictional world with urban realities, becoming in many ways a singular portrait of the Bulgarian capital in the late 1970s.

This screening will be introduced by curator Teodosia Dobriyanova.

Bulgaria 1977 dir Binka Zhelyazkova 137 min

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Cinema 2