UROK

Greece, Bulgaria 2015

Synopsis

Nadezhda warns her students that the school thief is in her sights. She declares that once she catches him his classmates will get their breakfast money back, and she’ll teach him a “good lesson”. On her return home, Nadezhda is surprised by another problem - an officer of the court threatens her with foreclosure. Her husband has missed several loan repayments for the cargo truck he bought intending to repair it and sell it. Now the entire loan has to be paid immediately so Nadezdha borrows money from a loan shark expecting to return it upon the sale of the truck. But time flies and the truck is beyond repair. There’s no way to pay back the loan shark, and he starts pressuring Nadezhda. She scrambles for money, but to no avail. The truck, the house, her mother’s golden tooth crowns – nothing is enough. The loan shark threatens to hurt her child if she doesn’t find the cash. Terrified and desperate, Nadezhda robs a bank. She pays back the loan shark. And she finds out who the school robber is. But now she has no idea what kind of lesson to teach him.

Directors Statement

Several years ago TV reported that a woman robbed a bank in a small provincial Bulgarian town. Everybody suspected that she was a junkie, a criminal ... Nobody suspected that the bank robber was a decent school teacher with two master’s degrees. The way it sounded - “Teacher robbed a bank!!!” It was precisely the contradiction within this phrase that made us look behind the tabloid sensation. This event from our reality left a deep trace in us and made us ask ourselves - what makes a decent person become a criminal?
We wanted to tell the story harshly, as a part of life. We strived to be real to the extreme, to create a painfully authentic film story. We got deep into the teacher’s inner world, we tackled her inner conflicts, her fight with her own morality. One of the main tasks for us as directors was to develop rich and deep human personalities. Together with the DoP Krum Rodriguez we decided that the camera had to be unnoticed and contemplative, to look carefully in the details and the action, without being obvious. The film was shot in a real provincial town. Most of the small parts were played by real people, not actors. Our main actors had to blend in naturally, they had to partner with the non-professionals, and their performances had to be as authentic and real as possible. Our goal was that the audience wouldn’t be able to tell an actor from a non-actor in the finished film. Margita Gosheva is a real discovery for us in this sense. After she read the script we changed some lines and situations, but the main work was done on set when she was put in the real situations with the real class of 30 children. The sense of authenticity and real life was leading in each element - make-up, costumes, set design, light and sound.
In the beginning we started shooting just different episodes of the film as a teaser while we were trying to find money for the production, but the cast and crew were so inspired by the story that they didn’t want to stop until we had finished the last shot. Everyone worked for deferred payments and we are truly thankful to the cast and crew who were fully devoted to the filmmaking process despite the minimal time we had for the shooting, and the difficult conditions we were working in due to our micro-budget. The film didn’t receive production funding by the Bulgarian Film Center - just like our previous film, JUMP.
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Cast & Crew

Directed by : Petar Valchanov, Kristina Grozeva

Written by : Petar Valchanov, Kristina Grozeva

Produced by : Petar Valchanov, Kristina Grozeva

Director of Photography : Krum Rodriguez

Editor : Petar Valchanov

Production Design : Vanina Geleva

Costume Design : Kristina Tomova

Sound Design : Dobromir Hristoskov, Vesselin Zografov

Main Cast : Margita Gosheva (Nadezhda), Ivan Burnev (Mladen), Ivan Savov (Stoyan), Deya Todorova (Deya), Stefan Denolyubov (the loan shark)

Nominations and Awards

  • EFA Selection 2015