Glory – Film Review by Cristina Florescu
Directors: Kristina Grozeva, Petar Valchanov
Writers: Kristina Grozeva, Decho Taralezhkov
Stars: Stefan Denolyubov, Margita Gosheva, Ana Bratoeva
Glory is a Bulgarian-Greek drama directed by Kristina Grozeva and Petar Valchanov, starring Stefan Delynubov and Margita Gorsheva. The film focuses on Tzanko Petrov (Stefan Delynubov), a linesman with a stammer, who finds a great amount of money on the train tracks and decides to turn it in. When that happens the Ministry of Transport uses the event in their favour to draw away attention from a recent scandal concerning corruption and theft. The Ministry’s PR team lead by Julia Staycova (Margita Gorsheva) turn Tzanko into a national hero in a televised event. When she takes Tzanko’s old watch gifted by his deceased father to replace it with a new one from the Minister, it sets in motion a series of unforeseen events.
In an attempt to recover his beloved watch, Tzanko gets caught in the manipulative threads of the media, the justice system and the government, being used by each institution to serve their own purposes in a development of events that are so familiar they are hard to watch. The film is full of metaphors: the watch stands for how things of emotional value are treated by politicians who care most about appearances. Tzanko’s stammer turns the character into a representation of those who cannot speak for themselves, who are betrayed and wronged by those institutions that are meant to be on their side: the government, the media and the police- institutions that also happen to be extremely powerful in any society.
Delybunov delivers a great performance as Tzanko- a simple working class man who is lives at the edge of society because of social status and his stammer; the civil servant nobody thinks of. He is vulnerable and relatable. His performance is simple, yet gripping. Gorsheva’s character on the other side, is the master puppeteer, the token politician, the one who calls the shots in her personal and professional life. She is there to represent the other side of the story and the two characters together show the great contrasting lives of the wealthy woman and the poor man, the well-connected politician and the ordinary citizen.
Through this dynamic the film presents a great depiction of corruption and a system where the powerless always lose. It is massively frustrating to watch because there is so much to relate to and it definitely awakens the viewer to realities we have become numb to: corruption and bribery, the manipulation of the media, and the propaganda of the government. It is incredibly acted and written, the storyline is very well-thought, with clues and details added throughout the story to give the characters and their world more credibility. It is a film that will frustrate you, make you feel deeply connected to the characters, and keep you at the edge of your seat.