Cinema emerged gradually, with the development of photography, in the second half of the nineteenth century. There is no specific birth date as it does not relate to a specific invention or definition. It is seen as a process and a set of step-by-step technical improvements and gaining experience that lead to the crystallization of what we see today and define as film art. However, some filmmakers refer to the names of the Lumiere brothers and the creation of cinematography in 1895. Others make a starting point earlier, with Le Prince, William Fitton, Thomas Edison, Emil Renault and animated images.


In Bulgaria, cinema became an art at a later stage due to a number of historical, ideological and social reasons. Although the first film screenings appeared in 1905 and the first amateur films were filmed until 1920, the word "movie process" still remains foreign to Bulgarians. With the advent of Hollywood commercial production and of Soviet and foreign films, interest in film art grew in the Bulgarian intelligentsia and began to change its outlook. This is how Nikola Vaptsarov's poem "Cinema" appeared, which became programmatic for Bulgarian cinematicism and sensitivity during the socialist era.


The period from the 20 to the 50 years of the last century is defined as the starting point for our native cinema. However, this period goes under the sign of a certain artistic inferiority, because the films of V. Gendov, B. Greshov, Al. Vazov, B. Borazonov, Joseph Novak et al. are defined as imitation of foreign samples. Despite its utterly unconvincing beginnings, the fatal backwardness of the achievements of literature, theater and painting, this is precisely the beginning of our cinema. This is where we have to look for its genesis, because that is the first step. In less than ten years, it will launch as a springboard our home cinema on an almost global level with a number of films that make up the treasury of Bulgarian cinema today. As you know, there is no masterpiece born of nothing.


During the period from the 50 to the end of the 80, Bulgarian cinema has been on a phenomenal upswing, reaching creative peaks. In a short time he managed to create a set of high quality productions. During this period, films were created such as: "King and General," "Birds and Greyhounds," "Every Mile," "Tobacco," "Almond Breath," "Deviation," "The White Room," "The Iconostasis," Black Angels, Goat Horn, Ivan Kondarev, Tree without Roots, Hear a Rooster, Time Parting, Tied Balloon, Illusion, Eternal Times, Measure by Measure and others. In addition to the high productivity and the creation of specific author's techniques, films from this period are also characterized by the modern time narratives that have entered the other arts in the 60 years.


One of the films made during this strongest period of our native cinema is The Iconostasis. Krasimir Krumov defines the film as "exceptional" and as "the Bulgarian world masterpiece". Created in 1969, based on Dimitar Talev's novel The Iron Lamp, Iconostasis is the joint feature debut of two established artists - Todor Dinov (in animation) and Hristo Hristov (in theatrical direction). Both are related to the visual arts, which also defines the bright plastic expressiveness of the film, a feature quite characteristic of our native cinema.


The cameraman is Atanas Tasev and the music is composed by Milcho Leviev. The cast is bright, with names such as Emilia Radeva (Sultana Glausheva), Violeta Gindeva (Katerina Glausheva), Nikolay Uzunov (Lazar Glaushev), non-professional actor, artist Dimitar Tashev (Rafail Stolyanchev) (Bozhana Benkova), Naum Shopov (Taki Brushnarov), the young then Rusi Chanev. The high place of the "Iconostasis" in our native cinema is evidenced by a number of awards - directing award, female role of Violeta Gindeva (Katerina), award of the CCMC CC for the debut of Dimitar Tashev (Raf Klinche) in Varna - XNC and the Young Film Critics Award at the Locarno Film Festival in 1969.

The film stands out with its special place among the mass of Bulgarian productions. The place of production of Todor Dinov and Hristo Hristov in the classification film groups is specific. The interesting thing about the Iconostasis is that it is always in a hybrid position. He is from both, but not at the same time. There are few in this individual and neutral position and are some of the most complete Bulgarian film productions.

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Here are some of the groups in which the film takes this position. The first consists of productions belonging to the so-called. historical cinema. The iconostasis, although in this group, does not fully meet the norms of the definition of historical cinema. Unlike productions such as "The Prince," "Day of the Rulers," "Time of Separation," "The Case of 205," etc., the film belongs to those "historical films" that do not intend to fill only the gaps in historical knowledge. It has two functions, looking at history both historiographically and historically.


Thematically related to history, he relativises it. Along with the use of her cognitive side, her other person is also used as material for socio-moral artistic processing and her enlightening function. The epoch of struggle for church independence is being recreated, but at the same time different social-moral norms are embodied, brilliantly embodied in the images of Sultan, Stoyan, Lazar, Catherine, and Raf Klinche. The story in the film occupies its dominant place, but at the same time it is free from sociological review and educational and propaganda reflections.

Footage from the movie "The Iconostasis" / BNT

Another classification, in which the production occupies the same hybrid position, is related to the so-called. "Supermoralism" in Bulgarian films. The "Iconostasis" remains beyond the reach of the super-moralism so characteristic of our native cinema, which makes it more complete, bringing it closer to European and world models. In Dinov's work - there is morality of Christ, because this is a mandatory feature of Bulgarian cinema, but without the prefix "super".


And the third group, in which the film occupies a specific place, is the group, conditionally designated by the researcher Krasimir Krumov, of the individualist and non-individualist cinema. The first are authors who portray themselves more than the Bulgarian mental and behavioral mentality. The latter include the so-called. "Peoples" who give a more accurate idea of ​​the essence of Bulgarian life and spirituality. There is no interplay between these two groups, to some extent damaging our home cinema. There are a few films that see a certain diffusion between these two origins, and "Iconostasis" is one of them.


In general, it can be said that the film reading of Dimitar Talev's "Iron Lamp" occupies similar relative positions due to the absence of the "over" prefix in the depicted being categories. It is her lack of touching her to a different start, but at the same time retaining the established pattern model. It is historiographic, but not overly historiographic. He is historically philosophical, but not super historiographical. He is individualistic, but not overly individualistic. He is non-individualistic, but not super-non-individualistic, and he has morality, but he is not super-moral.

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