Hidden Figures: Binka Zhelyazkova
Discover the rarely screened films of Binka Zhelyazkova (1923-2011), a pioneer of Bulgarian cinema who was active during the country’s totalitarian years whose films were often censored by the state.
Zhelyazkova was not only the first female fiction filmmaker in Bulgaria, but also one of the few whose work reached beyond the Iron Curtain in the 1950s. Her strong allegiance with the communist party and the regime’s rigorous aesthetic conventions weaved, persistently, a single thread through all of her films content-wise, while the richness of her formalistic approach often pierced the surface of the then-required social(ist) aesthetic. Because of her political stance and uncompromising vision, her career was impeded and most of her films banned upon release.
To mark Zhelyazkova’s centenary, this retrospective presents three films which showcase recurring themes from the Bulgarian director’s working years and testify to her hope in a hapless generation in flux and form: through satire, spy thriller tropes, and witty comedic episodes.
This programme is curated by Teodosia Dobriyanova (New East Cinema) and Savina Petkova in partnership with Barbican Cinema.
Hidden Figures: Binka Zhelyazkova - The Swimming Pool +...
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.
Hidden Figures: Binka Zhelyazkova - We Were Young + Intro
Binka Zhelyazkova’s brilliant feature explores a touching love story that develops during an attempt to thwart Nazi occupation in 1940s Bulgaria.
Hidden Figures: The Tied Up Balloon + ScreenTalk
In Binka Zhelyazkova’s sharp satire, her best known work, a mysterious barrage balloon appears in the sky over a remote Bulgarian village in WWII, causing wild anxiety in the crazed locals.