Review: ‘Rollling Stones’

(Bulgarian dialogue)

(Bulgarian dialogue)

Three schleppy grown brothers find themselves at loose ends when their distinguished elderly father decides to leave Bulgaria for America in “Rolling Stones.” Anyone who’s nostalgic for Central European cinema that tackles the big issues — Why are we here? Does God exist? What does it mean to be a father, a son, a man? — will feel right at home with this talky, leisurely effort. Pic will roll toward fests before gathering moss.

Recriminations fly as soon as Dad, a physician, leaves his trio of fortysomething offspring in the lurch without a forwarding address. None of the lads knew their father well or had made the effort to stay in touch with him, but absence makes the heart grow curious, if not fonder.

One brother’s an atheist, one’s noncommittal and one’s a true believer. They rattle around Dad’s spacious apartment in Sofia until, at the one-hour mark, word of their father alters the family dynamics. Women are peripheral: There’s a neighbor lady who looks like a basset hound in need of Prozac, and there’s Dad’s put-upon, despairing g.f.

Straightforward lensing is punctuated by several impressively arty shots: a steam train chugging, a rainbow across a golden field, clouds before the full moon. Music ranges from “Silent Night” through Erik Satie to “Hava Nagila” as learned from a Harry Belafonte record. In addition to the sons’ unsettled lives, title refers to a description of God’s voice as resembling the rumble of stones as they roll.

Rollling Stones

(Pierres Qui Roulent)

Production

(French-Bulgarian) A Zelie Prods. (Paris)/Borough Film (Sofia) production, with the aid of CNC France, CNC Bulgaria. Produced by Patrick Sandrin, Catherine Jalo, Vladimir Anlee, Christo Barkalik, Gourgi Balanki. Executive producer, Russi Liutzanov. Directed by Ivan Cherkelov. Screenplay, Cherkelov, Evelyne Piemier. Camera (color), Rali Ralchev, Stefan Ivanov; editor, Anna Koevska; music, Jorge Arriagada; art direction, Georgi Todorov; sound, Alain Garvie. Reviewed at Entrevues Film Festival (competing), Belfort, France, Nov. 29, 1996. Running time: 116 MIN.

With

With: Georgi Chekelov, Stefan Marnomev, Georgi Kadrenin, Alexander Trifonov.
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