French selection 2019

Building of the Braves

L'Immeuble des braves

Bojina Panayotova

2019France22 min

“In Sofia, the residents of a mythical building had been evicted. I had come to hunt for film locations.” After this brief introductory title card, we discover what makes this Bulgarian building mythical, why its residents were evicted and how location-hun­ting turned into a film, as Bojina Panayotova seems to have expe­rienced it: like a sudden burst of enthusiasm that tips reality into the action-packed irreality of a paranoid thriller. It only needs a phone call to a man met beforehand: “busy saving the world in his own way” by gathe­ring snails off the railings of a subway entrance, he appears three minutes later in front of a building throwing bits of sausage through the windows of the condemned building, calling out the names of a cat and two dogs seemingly imprisoned inside the run-down dwelling. But soon the building’s caretaker drives up, forbids entry, bans the camera, and threatens to beat up Ivan. Panayo­tova follows Ivan’s distraught wande­rings around the district, as he insults neighbours at their window, tradespeople in their shops or bus drivers at the wheel. What has become of the dogs? Those “dear communists”, the Eco-Balance dog kennels, some Arab mafia or other, or “boundless Bulgarian savagery” are the potential suspects in this outlan­dish documentary, which launches into a spiral whose digressive workings create similarities with some of the finest fiction films. 
–Antoine Thirion

  • Bojina Panayotova was born in Bulgaria. After the Berlin wall fell, she emigrated with her family to France. After studying philosophy at the Ecole Normale Supérieure and cinema at La Fémis, she returned to Bulgaria and began to make “wild” films. She also works with director Boris Lojkine as screenwriter and script consultant. Her first feature documentary, I See Red People, screened in the Berlinale Panorama section will be theatrically released in spring 2019.

  • PRODUCTION : Vincent Le Port (Stank)

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