Bulgaria, Germany


When a retired, recently widowed teacher falls prey to a phone scam, she’s left robbed of her life savings and without any money for her late husband’s grave.
Her life turns upside down when she realises that there’s no way of gaining her money back, up until she receives an alluring, yet suspicious offer for work.
The tables turn as she takes matters into her own hands and cash begins rolling in, this time claiming her most prized attribute: Her values, as she slowly and surely transforms into the scammer herself.

Director's Statement

Though BLAGA’S LESSONS is the last installment in our trilogy (following Directions and Rounds), it is vastly different. The story of our main character Blaga holds a mirror up to a number of painful aspects of Bulgarian society such as: |

The Bulgarian pensioners abandoned to a humiliating existence – our mothers and fathers. After working their entire lives, today their life is genocide, agony and misery. Meagre pensions, no access to basic 21st century “privileges” such as normal food, adequate medication and medical care… Pensioners are also the main target and the usual victims of the obscene phenomenon known as “phone scams”. The dreams of a decent life have long since been replaced by a struggle for everyday survival.

The loneliness of the Bulgarian pensioners – most of them are separated from their children and grand-children. Their descendants are far away, searching for a living in the capital or in far-off countries.

The complete moral crisis our society is caught in. The obscenity of stealing the saving of an elderly person who is barely making ends meet. Making “easy money” with complete disregard for any laws, value systems or morals. The soullessness, corruption and consumerism as the sole “value”.

I live in Bulgaria with my two children. The main questions that have been on my mind for years now are these: What is happening in Bulgaria and Europe? Why we are more and more divided and the inequality is growing? Where are we headed? Why are we sinking deeper and deeper into a crisis – not only an economical one but a spiritual one, a crisis of values? Where can we look for hope? How and where are our children going to live?

The faithful representation and understanding of reality is the first requirement for its change, the only condition for fruitful action.

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Stephan Komandarev

Written by: Stephan Komandarev, Simeon Ventsislavov

Produced by: Stephan Komandarev, Katya Trichkova, Eike Goretzka, Christoph Kukula

Cinematography: Vesselin Hristov

Editing: Nina Altaparmakova

Production Design: Ivelina Mineva

Costume Design: Nadya Dobrikova

Make-Up & Hair: Bistra Kechedjieva

Original Score: Kalina Vasileva

Sound: Johannes Doberenz, Sebastian Schmidt, Olaf Mehl

Visual Effects: Patrick Gunther, Michael Burckhardt

Cast: Eli Skorcheva (Blaga), Gerasim Georgiev (Lyudmil)

Nominations and Awards

  • Feature Film Selection 2023