"Investigation": The Invisible Secrets Of The Soul By Liudmila Hristozova-Diakova

in 11st Sofia International Film Festival

by Liudmila Hristozova-Diakova

I have always thought that the film critic is called upon to discover and bring up new talents in cinema, to chart the trends of development of young filmmakers and to present their films to the audience in an appropriate way.

Among the many remarkable festival programs, special events and spotlights on different national cinematographies (Germany, Balkan Films Meetings), the festival competition, including first and second works, is one of the most interesting. Thus the festival serves as a living showcase of new names which, in the years to come, could become leading directors in the world cinema.

All twelve films in competition at the 11th Sofia International Film Festival reflect the artistic search, emotions, inventions and the moral dilemmas of their authors. In that program, the Bulgarian movie Investigation (Razsledvane)stood out as very important for me — not only because the Bulgarian cinema is not often presented at international festivals, but also because this is a film of exceptional value — and one of the best works in competition. This is the second feature of director/scriptwriter Iglika Triffonova, after her critically acclaimed and successfully distributed, in Bulgaria and abroad, film Letter to America (Pismo do Amerika).

Investigation is a chamber piece, almost ascetic in its aesthetics and expression, but its asceticism is raised up in an instrumental style. Every single detail of the interior and exterior sequences, every shade of reaction in the actors’ behaviour, is premeditated and given meaning thanks to the extraordinary work of Rali Ralchev, the director of photography. His portraits reach deep down inside the characters and have a powerful dramatic impact.

The film is a penetrating study of the motives of a fratricide — motives which are not social or psychological, but reach the depths of the unconscious, the primary and biblical concepts of love and hate. But most of all, Investigation isa profoundobservation of the weird relationship of an examining magistrate and the man accused of fratricide. There’s an additional complication: The examining magistrate is a woman.

The characters are monolithic, every one living in a reticent and hermetic world. She is experiencing a total, nearly religious devotion in holding the inquest, to such an extent that she neglects her child and husband, and pays with heavy remorse. He is a tough man who has secretly and deeply suffered from a lack of his mother’s affection, and throughout his life has repressed frustrations and restrained jealousy: His brother was the best-loved son.

These two lonely souls meet during the hard inquiry and slowly and painfully reach each other, opening their minds to one another. He begins to trust in another human being, and through his confession reaches the catharsis of repentance. She succeeds in conquering her professional prejudices, feeling the warm vibrations of compassion and perceiving herself as a fragile and vulnerable woman.

Investigationis a complex movie dedicated to the eternal theme of crime and punishment. In a delicate but artistically achieved manner, its director penetrates the depths of the parent-child and man-woman dynamics, giving the spectator the rare opportunity to peek through a tragedy, to take a look at the innermost, gloomiest sides of the soul, remaining at calm and in a high state of serenity.