Ten days ago Locarno Film Festival announced its winners. The main international competition featured seventeen premieres. The Jury agreed on Pardo D'Oro (or the Golden Leopard) to be given to Godless directed by a female Bulgarian director Ralitza Petrova.
Godless is the first R. Petrova's feature film and yet her debut has been so highly recognized in Locarno. According to her, "I believe that cinema is not circus. I think we are entertained not purely by laughs, or gratuitous violence and sex. I think ideas and meaning is what is most entertaining."
However, Godless is everything but entertainment. The film demonstrates total degradation in the poorest part of Bulgaria where the main heroine Gana (Irena Ivanova, Best Actress Prize at the Festival) works as a visiting nurse with no compassion but just a vice to steal her patients' ID cards.
In his review of Godless Jay Weissberg states: "The concept of better days doesn’t exist: not the distant past, referenced by an old woman who nostalgically recalls her happiness when the Nazis rolled into town, nor the Communist era, when this society was destroyed by fear and corruption. “Godless” is clearly proclaiming that nothing has changed, and nearly thirty years after the fall of dictator Todor Zhivkov, Bulgaria’s social fabric remains in tatters."
See all Locarno Film Festival Winners here.