Daily | Sundance + Rotterdam 2014 | Maya Vitkova’s VIKTORIA



We begin with Emma Myers at Indiewire on Bulgarian writer, director, and producer Maya Vitkova‘s Viktoria: “Unfolding against the backdrop of the fall of communism, Vitkova’s lyrical imagery elevates her semi-autobiographical debut to poetic heights. Born without an umbilical chord, baby Viktoria’s relationship with her mother (Irmena Chichikova) is severed before it even begins. Hailed as a living symbol of the communist party, the love Viktoria knows growing up is more gubernatorial than it is maternal. Acerbic and absurdist in equal measure, the film forges a powerful metaphorical link between the physical body and the body politic.”

“At ten, Viktoria (Daria Vitkova, the director’s niece) is a star of the Communist Party, best friends with [Party leader Todor Zhivkov (Georgi Spasov)] and has a direct phone line to his office,” writes Stefan Dobroiu at Cineuropa. “She can do anything, receives extravagant gifts and gives funny orders to kids in her school, like when she wants them all to show her their belly buttons. But what will happen in 1989…?… Although it’s her first feature, Vitkova has managed to control and organize a great array of resources, sweeping through three decades of Bulgarian history and using visual context in order to show her characters’ feelings, needs, disappointments and desires.”

Viktoria has a touch of Garp and The Tin Drum, as well as plenty of dryly absurdist Eastern European humor,” finds Dennis Harvey in Variety. “But the pic’s leisurely yet often bold and original progress abruptly reduces itself to a wearying chronicle of multi-character depression in its final third, dragging all emotional and metaphorical impact downhill with it.”

For Screen‘s Mark Adams, “Viktoria has moments to enjoy as it takes an unusual route through the changes in the country from 1979 to the present day, but it is just far too long for its own good and at times lumbers under the weight of its ambitious structure.”

Danielle Lurie interviews Vitkova for Filmmaker.

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