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In a Bulgarian backwater village, unemployed widow Svetlana is out hunting when she comes across Bamba, an African refugee passing through on his way to Germany. She attempts to turn him in to the utterly inept local authorities, but they are already busy botching their capture of a group of Afghan refugees. Unsure what to do, the flinty Svetlana reluctantly takes Bamba in—a small act of humanity that quickly awakens her to the extreme closemindedness of her so-called friends and neighbors. Director Ivaylo Hristov’s daring, blacker-than-black comedy lays bare the absurdity of the migrant crisis with pitiless precision—this is a film about the obstructionists, and in its laser focus on European bigotry, Fear can be seen as the disturbing reverse shot to any number of recent WFF selections like Midnight Traveler, Saudi Runaway, or this year’s This Is My Desire. The film itself proves as tough and unsparing as its protagonist, mercilessly mocking the backwards racism of the townsfolk, whose vain idea of citizenship consists exclusively of passing the buck. “Ask someone else” and “It’s not my problem” are repeated like refrains as time and again, everyone refuses to take personal responsibility for anything: the town’s problems or their own, and least of all the refugees unlucky enough to be stuck with these people. This sharp-edged satire has already won Best Film at both the Tallin Black Nights Film Festival and the Golden Rose Film Festival in Bulgaria. “A marvelously acerbic offbeat comedy which has its roots firmly embedded in a human drama. Using humor to make more serious points, Fear is something of a wonder” (Backseat Mafia). (MK)

  • Year
    2020
  • Runtime
    100 minutes
  • Language
    Bulgarian, with English subtitles
  • Country
    Bulgaria
  • Director
    Ivaylo Hristov
  • Screenwriter
    Ivaylo Hristov
  • Cast
    Svetlana Yancheva, Michael Fleming, Ivan Savov, Stoyan Bochev, Krassimir Dokov