Bulgaria, Denmark, France


In a remote Bulgarian town, Gana looks after the elderly with dementia, while trafficking their ID cards on the identity black market. At home, she provides for her jobless mother, with whom she hardly speaks. Her relationship with her car-mechanic boyfriend is no shelter for love either - with sexual attraction vanished, intimacy is reduced to an addiction to morphine. Nothing seems to have consequences on the nurse’s conscience, even the incidental murder of a patient, who threatens to expose her fraudulent dealings. Things start to shake up, when Gana hears the music of Yoan, a new patient, whose ID card she has trafficked. A growing empathy for the old man unlocks Gana’s drugged-up conscience, and she is ready for change. But when Yoan is arrested for fraud, she learns that doing 'the right thing' comes at a high price.

Director's Statement

Nearly thirty years after its collapse, the consequence of communism keeps claiming its toll, where you get away with murder without punishment, and a possibility for hope can only emerge when all is lost. Godless deals with the fall of an ordinary person, forced to act against their good conscience.
The film was designed to carry the rawness and authenticity of an observational documentary, with most of the cast being non-actors, whose life experience was close to that of the characters. The fictional narrative of the nurse was intertwined with the reality of looking after real-life patients. This was a way to explore both the oppressed mentality of a dying generation, and to create a portrait of a flawed next generation, living with a lost belief in goodness.
The film was shot in the province of Vratsa, one of the poorest regions of northwestern Bulgaria, situated at the foothills of an austere mountain. The hostile landscapes and local faces created a visceral atmosphere, which mirrored the brutality of the story.

Director's Biography

Ralitza studied Fine Art, and later Fiction Directing at the UK’s National Film and Television School. Her films have won acclaim at film festivals such as Cannes, Berlin, Karlovy Vary and San Sebastian, as well as on numerous art platforms, including the Centre Pompidou, Paris. ‘Godless’ is her feature debut.


2009 BY THE GRACE OF GOD, short
2007 ROTTEN APPLE, short

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Ralitza Petrova

Written by: Ralitza Petrova

Produced by: Rossitsa Valkanova, Eva Jakobsen, Laurence Clerc

Cinematography: Krum Rodriguez, Chase Irvin

Editing: Donka Ivanova, Ralitza Petrova

Production Design: Vanina Geleva

Costume Design: Vanina Geleva

Make-Up & Hair: Ivanka Gorshinina

Sound Design: Peter Albrechtsen

Cast: Alexandr Triffonov (Pavel), Irena Ivanova (Gana), Ventzislav Konstantinov (Aleko), Ivan Nalbantov (Yoan)

Nominations and Awards

  • European Discovery - Prix Fipresci 2017
  • Feature Film Selection 2017