The kind of frenetic, metaphor-laden Euro fantasy where wine can flow from water taps without explanation, "Touched by God" is an appealingly eccentric if not particularly accessible parable about ethnic tolerance and small-town life.

The kind of frenetic, metaphor-laden Euro fantasy where wine can flow from water taps without explanation, “Touched by God” is an appealingly eccentric if not particularly accessible parable about ethnic tolerance and small-town life. Unusual co-production arrangement might prompt fests to take a look, but insular nature of proceedings make regional hardtop and tube play a safer bet.

On reports of a remote village where Christians and Muslims live together in harmony, French sociologist Francois arrives at the town of Kesten, somewhere near the borders of Bulgaria, Turkey and Greece to discover a group of citizens who seem to have indeed overcome the inherent tensions of religion and social order. There’s teacher Vladimir, who occupies all positions of authority in the burg; character known only as the Writer, who speaks French, stuffs his poems into bottles and dreams of seeing Rossellini’s “Europa ’51″ again; a spirited smuggler; and secondary characters with names like the Pilot and the Projectionist. Per helmer Peter Popzlatev, each represents an archetype of contempo Bulgarian society, which is all well and good if CliffsNotes can be made available at each screening. Tech credits are slick.

Touched by God

Bulgaria-France

Production

A Post Scriptum (Bulgaria)/Mact (France) production. (International sales: Mact Prods., Paris.) Produced by Peter Popzlatev, Antoine de Clermont-Tonnerre. Directed by Peter Popzlatev. Screenplay, Stanislav Stratiev, Popzlatev.

Crew

Camera (color), Emil Hristov; editor, Madlene Radicheva; music, Antoni Dontchev; art director, Georgi Todorov; costumes, Boriana Semerdjiana. Reviewed at Montreal Film Festival (World Cinema: Reflections of Our Time), Sept. 2, 2001. (Also in Karlovy Vary Film Festival -- competing). Bulgarian and French dialogue. Running time: 119 MIN.

With

Samuel Fintzi, Svetlana Yantcheva, Philippe Volter, Itschak Fintzi, Ivailo Hristov, Vladimir Penev.
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