Women Do Cry
dir. MINA MILEVA, VESELA KAZAKOVA
A political satire that looks at the sexual power structures still prevalent worldwide, using comedy, anger and frustration. The film had its world premiere in Cannes, starring Oscar nominee Maria Bakalova.
An injured stork, a woman in the midst of postnatal depression, a young girl confronted with the stigma of HIV, a mother who seeks a little magic in the lunar calendar. Sisters, mothers, and daughters face their fragilities and the absurdity of life as violent protests and debates about gender tear their country Bulgaria apart. Directed by two creative and courageous film authors (Vesela is also a renowned actress, and Mina is a well-known film animation maker), this playful yet very serious film is one of the works that strongly divides the audience at home. However, the duo wholeheartedly follows their passion for making brave, edgy cinema.
SHOWTIMES | Special Guest: screenwriter and actress Bilyana Kazakova
Saturday, 25 November – 18:30
Sunday, 26 November – 10:45
ZHENITE NAISTINA PLACHAT | 2021 | 107 min | Bulgaria, France
|Mina Mileva, Vesela Kazakova – Activist 38; Christophe Bruncher – Ici et La Productions, Arte France Cinema
|Maria Bakalova, Ralitsa Stoyanova, Katia, Bilyana & Vesela Kazakova
|Bilyana Kazakova, Mina Mileva, Vesela Kazakova
|Donka Ivanova, Yann Dedet
FESTIVALS & AWARDS (SELECTION)
Cannes FF, 2021 – Un Certain Regard Competition | Sarajevo FF, 2021 | Cork IFF, 2021 – Youth Jury Award | Dunav FF, 2021 – Best Directing | Balkan FF Rome, 2022 – Best Director | UBFM, 2022 – Best Actress, Best Outstanding Actor | Golden Rose Bulgarian Feature FF, 2021 – Special Mention | Zinegoak, 2022 – Best actress | European Film Awards nominee, 2022 | Eurimages’ Audentia Award, 2022
“I, Vesela, grew up in a family of women. A family of three sisters, two of whom now have daughters themselves – just like the film’s heroines. I’ve chosen not to have children and, as one might imagine, I witnessed my sisters’ invisible battles as women. I supported them, from their postpartum depression to every time their kids would get sick. Women and the world they inhabit have always inspired me. Even as a child, I knew I was attracted to women. And I was fascinated by my mother, a victim of my father’s aggressive behaviour. In addition to (rather commonplace) domestic violence in Bulgaria, homophobic violence – which was not very frequent, even during the Communist era – is now becoming increasingly common. All of this goes hand in hand with a new “patriotism” and a rejection of European values. A Bulgarian court recently rejected the Istanbul Convention – which is aimed at combating domestic and gender-based violence – simply because of a sloppy translation of the term “gender”. The Bulgarian constitution defines a “woman” as a person who gives birth to a child… We then saw nationalist uprisings motivated by the fear that Europe would try to impose “gay” values on the population. There have also been demonstrations to protect traditional family structures and childhood. Public debate has been fraught, and the Orthodox Church has taken a moralistic stance on how the nuclear family should be defined. A few years ago, when my older sister’s daughter was 19, she announced she was HIV positive. We were in shock. When AIDS entered our family, it unearthed all the issues we had previously swept under the rug. I’m now ready to share all of that… WOMEN DO CRY dives into the female psyche, into the heart of a country that does not officially recognize the word “gender”. A country in Europe, torn by cyber-bullying, poverty and isolation”.
After two decades in the British animation industry, Mina Mileva created Activist38 with Vesela Kazakova, also an actress. Vesela’s leading roles have won her several Best Actress awards like Silver George at the 2005 Moscow IFF and Berlinale Shooting Stars in 2006. Mina and Vesela have directed and produced subversive documentaries, which, according to Variety act as “rare gadflies whose sting is causing a massive allergic reaction on the thin skin of Bulgaria’s filmmaking elite”. Despite their international recognition, the films haven’t been aired on Bulgarian television for years. Vesela and Mina received institutional harassment and had to undergo numerous interrogations. A PR of a major political party and member of the Bulgarian Parliament even nicknamed them the “Demonic duo”! Their first fiction film CAT IN THE WALL premiered in Competition at the Locarno FF 2019 and SXSW for North America. It received the FIPRESCI Award at the Warsaw FF 2019 and was part of the EFA Feature Film Selection 2020. The film ranked number 1 in Screen’s summer festivals selection of 2019. Their second feature drama, WOMEN DO CRY, was selected in Un Certain Regard at the Cannes FF 2021.