×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Tilt

Bulgaria's second most popular homegrown pic (trailing the decidedly inferior "Mission: London") is an entertaining youth-oriented Romeo-and-Juliet saga that also critically addresses the country's post-revolution changes.

With:
With: Yavor Baharoff, Radina Kardzhilova, Ovanes Torosyan, Alexander Sano, Ivaylo Dragiev, Phillip Avramov, George Staykov, Joreta Nikolova, Robert Yanakiev, Alexander Hagedyush.

Bulgaria’s second most popular homegrown pic (trailing the decidedly inferior “Mission: London”) is an entertaining youth-oriented Romeo-and-Juliet saga that also critically addresses the country’s post-revolution changes. Viktor Chouchkov Jr.’s “Tilt” reps a strong debut for the tyro helmer, who’s assembled an appealing cast of twentysomethings in a spirited package whose occasional sags are easily forgivable, though the old-fashioned ending doesn’t fit with the more dramatically honest scenes preceding it. “Tilt” is enjoying a healthy fest life, but the real noteworthy statistic is the 150,000-plus local admissions.

Given the Bulgarian film industry’s perilous situation in recent months, this is precisely the kind of fillip it’s needed, proving that national mainstream pics can be well made and competitive in the marketplace. While offshore theatrical exposure is unlikely, “Tilt” offers a crucial commercial element that, together with the artier works of Kamen Kalev and Konstantin Bojanov, constitute a healthy cinema sector.

It’s 1989, during the last gasp of the communist era. A posse of skater dudes pirates German porn videos and sells them on the black market. Stash (Yavor Baharoff) falls for the standoffish Becky (Radina Kardzhilova), who’s already rejected B-Gum (Alexander Sano). She’s won over by Stash’s lack of pretension, but her father, Col. Katev (George Staykov), forbids the relationship and has the group of friends arrested and put on probation.

When the Berlin Wall comes down, Stash and friends Gogo (Ovanes Torosyan) and Angel (Ivaylo Dragiev) decide to head to Germany, with Becky in tow. However, B-Gum rats to her dad, and Becky’s hauled off the train while Stash is warned that if he ever sets foot in Bulgaria again, he’ll be a dead man.

The three guys end up in central Germany working as gravediggers; though these scenes drag, they provide a sense of the East European immigrant experience in the immediate post-Wall aftermath. When Stash realizes Becky’s never received any of the letters he’s sent, he convinces the others to accompany him back home, where they discover that Katev effortlessly transformed his status from communist colonel to Mafia kingpin. Once he’s certain Becky still loves him, Stash risks all to get her back.

Though the Romeo-and-Juliet theme is a bit well worn, and the intensity of their love feels too sudden, Chouchkov’s leads handily win viewers over with an engaging freshness. What really stands out here, however, is the pointed implication that yesterday’s abusive commie rulers are still in control as even more abusive gangsters who brazenly act above the law.

The pic’s first half maintains momentum with a satisfying pairing of action to music, sending out cool hip-hop vibes that drive the drama forward and appeal directly to young ticketbuyers. Lenser Rali Raltchev’s fluid camerawork, shot on the Red camera and handsomely transferred to 35mm, has a bigscreen presence ably assisted by nicely energetic editing that avoids musicvid-style pacing.

Popular on Variety

Tilt

Bulgaria-Germany

Production: An A Plus Films (in Bulgaria) release of a Chouchkov Brothers, Ostlicht Filmproduktion, Bulgarian National TV production. Produced by Borislav Chouchkov. Co-producers, Marcel Lenz, Guido Schwab. Directed by Viktor Chouchkov Jr.; Screenplay, Viktor Chouchkov Jr., Borislav Chouchkov.

Crew: Camera (color, HD-to-35mm), Rali Raltchev; editors, Kostadin Kostadinov, Zoritsa Nikolova; music, Viktor Chouchkov, Dimitar Vasilev-Nufri, Yavor Rusinov; production designer, Vanina Geleva; costume designer, Elena Stoyanova; sound (Dolby Digital), Alexander Bachvarov, Olaf Mehl, Sebastian Schmidt; line producer, Rossitsa Valkanova; associate producer, Georgi Ivanov; assistant director, Krasimir Hazarbassanov; casting, Ilka Vylcheva, Alexander Kossev, Vania Bagdarova. Reviewed at Transylvania Film Festival (Wasted Youth), June 9, 2011. (Also in Gothenburg, Sofia, Seattle film festivals.) Running time: 97 MIN.

With: With: Yavor Baharoff, Radina Kardzhilova, Ovanes Torosyan, Alexander Sano, Ivaylo Dragiev, Phillip Avramov, George Staykov, Joreta Nikolova, Robert Yanakiev, Alexander Hagedyush.

More Film

  • Cinematographer Barry Ackroyd Jay Roach Bombshell

    Jay Roach on How 'Bombshell' Production Crew Re-Created Roger Ailes-Era Fox News

    “Bombshell” is a fast-moving exploration of the oppressive atmosphere at Fox News in 2016, when Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman) and eventually, Megyn Kelly (Charlize Theron) brought down Roger Ailes. Considering more than 200 scenes were shot over 38 days, the film has an impressive runtime of 1:45. Director Jay Roach credits the work of his [...]

  • Little Women Movie

    Alexandre Desplat on Pushing the Boundaries With 'Little Women'

    The slate of awards hopefuls is new each year, but there is always a sense of continuity, of new contenders’ connections to the past. For example, Alexandre Desplat, a strong Golden Globes and Oscar possibility this year for his score to Sony’s “Little Women,” can trace the influence of his predecessors on his work. Growing [...]

  • Joker

    'Joker' Sequel Being Explored by Todd Phillips, Warner Bros.

    “Joker,” the $1 billion-grossing comic-book smash, may take another look at the fraying mind of Arthur Fleck. Warner Bros. film chief Toby Emmerich has met with writer and director Todd Phillips and co-writer Scott Silver to explore possible ideas for a sequel to the drama about the early days of the Clown Prince of Crime. [...]

  • Mindy Kaling photographed by Victoria Stevens

    Mindy Kaling to Host 22nd Costume Designers Guild Awards

    Mindy Kaling announced Wednesday that she will host the 22nd Costume Designers Guild Awards. “I’m thrilled to be hosting the Costumes Designers Guild Awards. Costume design and fashion are close to my heart, and I promise many, possibly too many, outfit changes,” Kaling wrote on Instagram. View this post on Instagram Hey guys! I’m so [...]

  • FROZEN 2 - In Walt Disney

    Will 'Frozen 2' Heat Up a Frosty Box Office?

    How enduring is “Frozen” fever? Six years after audiences were first introduced to Princesses Anna and Elsa, Disney is returning to Arendelle this weekend with the big-screen debut of “Frozen 2. The original made history as the highest-grossing animated movie ever, raking in $1.2 billion worldwide in 2013. This time around, the powerful sisters are [...]

  • Nederland, Amsterdam, 09-10-2019-Orwa Nyrabia, artistic director

    IDFA Artistic Director Orwa Nyrabia on Documentary Cinema's Bright Future

    “Where do you want to start,” Orwa Nyrabia says, with a smile. “I’m in full festival mode!” Just a year into the job and Nyrabia, IDFA’s artistic director, can’t wait to get stuck into his second edition. The festival’s founder, Ally Derks, who bowed out in 2017 after 30 years at the helm, was a [...]

  • Timothee Chalamet poses for photographers at

    Timothée Chalamet to Make London Stage Debut With Eileen Atkins in '4000 Miles'

    Timothee Chalemet is set to take to the London stage for the first time, appearing next spring in Amy Herzog’s Pulitzer Prize-nominated play “4000 Miles.” Matthew Warchus will direct the production at The Old Vic, which will also star Eileen Atkins (“The Crown,” “Gosford Park”). The play opens April 2020. It turns on the story [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content