A strong cabaret-sketch element infuses “Rhapsody in White,” first feature by well-known legit director Teddy Moskov, starring his wife, theater actress Maya Novoselska. A kind of meditation on Bulgarian (and Balkan) personal identity — or lack of it — shot through with nods to silent and slapstick comedy, plus grand guignol, pic reps an almost impossible offshore marketing challenge beyond occasional fest slots. However, the home crowd went wild at its Sofia festival screening. Pic won Best Cinematography award voted by foreign guests at the fest.
The Giulietta Masina-like Novoselska plays Danna, a puppeteer in a kids’ marionette theater. Childlike, clownish and with big wide eyes, she goes through life in a perpetual state of wonder. A female colleague eventually tries to fix her up with a man. Second half, with Novoselska in Chaplinesque B&W duds, is more accessible with its silent-cinema pastiches, though the poetic-cum-philosophical voiceover commentaries remain codified to any but Bulgarian auds. Tech credits on the blowup from Super-16 are top-drawer, and the minimal $200,000-plus budget never shows through.