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Glass Marbles

Produced by Mario Krastev.

Produced by Mario Krastev.

Directed, written by Ivan Cherkelov. Camera (color/B&W), Emil Hristov; editor , Ognyan Ivanov; music, Assen Avramov; art directors, Georgi Todorov, Svetlana Bonnet. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (Forum), Feb. 17, 2000. Original title: Stakleni topcheta. Running time: 100 MIN.

With: Ivan Ivanov, Jana Karaivanova, Rumen Traikov, Georgi Cherkelov.

Relentlessly inventive and bracingly complex, “Glass Marbles” is also determinedly oblique and demanding of even the most sympathetic auds. Philosophical tale of three men and a woman adrift in contempo Bulgaria may speak to local auds but will have a tough time rolling beyond smorgasbord fests and regional tube sales.

After a night of waiting among stacked cans of contraband cheese, Patzo and Chico engage in a game of brinkmanship involving a car alarm that gets one of them killed. Meanwhile, Albena has decided to leave her husband, Filip, and their stylish home, only to return a year later after her relationship with Patzo crumbles. Visual metaphor of marbles, used as ballast in embalming procedures, is meant to represent the hollowness of life sans spirituality, per helmer Ivan Cherkelov, who made his third Berlin Forum appearance in just over a decade and claims pic “speaks to people who are unhappy in their lives.” Emil Hristov’s ace lensing is an immense help in achieving that goal, but pic is ultimately impeded by an allegorical visual language that’s as detailed yet inscrutable as hieroglyphics.

Glass Marbles

(BULGARIA)

Production: A 41T-Mario Krastev production, in association with Boyana Film Co., Bulgarian National Television, National Film Center of Bulgaria. (International sales: Klasfilm, Sofia.)

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