Twenty-two years after the fall of communism, the cataclysmic events and their aftermath continue to be on the mind of Eastern European filmmakers. Latest case in point: Bulgaria’s Oscar entry for foreign language film Tilt, a teen love story set against the backdrop of the dramatic changes in Bulgaria in the late 1980s and early 1990s. I lived through them as did the film’s co-writer/director Victor Chouchkov Jr. and his brother, co-writer/producer Borislav Chouchkov. We are members of the so-called “lost” generation, kids who were coming of age just as communism was crumbling and were destined to spend most of their adult lives waiting for things to get better while the democracy is going through growing pains. Also part of that generation are the protagonists in Tilt, played by now-famous young Bulgarian actors who made their debut in the movie.
Tilt, which was a box-office hit in Bulgaria, marks the first film for the Chouchkov brothers, with whom I briefly worked in the early days of democracy in Bulgaria. Both have colorful backgrounds. Victor’s career trajectory resembles that of Ron Howard. The director too was a child actor who grew up in an industry family (Victor and Borislav’s dad is a well known Bulgarian composer of orchestral and film music who did the score for Tilt.) A bit of trivia: the award-winning Bulgarian film Victor starred in as a child, Yo-Ho-Ho (photo on left), received a Hollywood treatment with an English-language remake, Tarsem’s 2006 film The Fall starring Lee Pace. Meanwhile, Borislav started off as a child singer. (That’s him on right at an international festival in Italy where a kids song written by his dad won a top award.)
The Chuchkov brothers will be on hand for a screening of Tilt today, Saturday, Dec. 10, at the Soho House. It will be followed by a coctail reception complete with several bottles of Bulgaria’s famous brandy “rakiya” for tequila-type shots. Bulgaria came close to a first foreign language film Oscar nomination 2 years ago when The World Is Big made it to the 9-film short list. Here is a trailer for Tilt: