Bulgarian dance film trilogy "BECOMING," a feast for the senses

Femininity, masculinity, and adolescence - a prism for the identity of contemporary people

Written by Kristina Petkova, edited by Mila Boshnakova, photos by Kosta Karakashyan

On February 3, Cinema House hosted the premiere screening of the trilogy BECOMING, which brings together three short dance films created by an entirely Bulgarian team of artists and filmmakers. The short films address the identity of contemporary people - femininity, masculinity, and adolescence, exploring the interplay between dance and documentary cinema.  

The dance film trilogy 

"Inner Bloom” is conceived, choreographed, and performed by Stephanie Handjiiska. The film explores the different stages of womanhood through a surreal female protagonist who, by way of a series of events, grows and learns to be a woman in her own skin.  

"Surrender” is directed by Kosta Karakashyan and highlights four captivating Bulgarian male dancers, lifting the curtain on who they are and why they dance. Combining their original performances with first-person documentary accounts, the film traces each man's personal relationship with dance to understand how it interacts with the idea of masculinity in Bulgarian society.  

"Breakoff” is a short poetic-documentary film by Silvia Cherneva that deals with the topic of learning, patience, and perseverance in the process of growing and shaping character. The film was shot at the Vocational School of Stone Processing in the village of Kunino and the stone quarry near it where young Bulgarian children learn the craft of stone-sculpting. This is a one-of-a-kind school in Europe, there is only one other similar school in the Czech Republic.   

Short movies - food for thought

Creating a short movie requires amazing filmmaking skills since there is very limited time to transmit its powerful message to the audience. This is what these three movies achieved with their impact! We were fascinated by all the tools used for sensory stimulation - visual and audio. The mind was also teased by all the brilliant metaphors and food for thought. During the discussion after the screening, the authors shed some light on the filmmaking process, and also on the questions that inspired them to address these three interconnected topics. In contemporary Bulgarian society, there are still certain requirements and limitations on what femininity and the feminine body should look like, how a masculine man should behave, and many stereotypes on the topics of feminine and masculine.

All three movies present the different faces of masculinity, femininity, and adolescence, and the beauty of this variety. We recommend BECOMING to everyone who enjoys reflecting on the topics addressed in the movies long after they have ended. In short dance movies such as these, where there isn’t a typical storyline or dialogue, the filmmakers allow the audience more room for interpretation and reflection. Perhaps in times like these, it’s especially important to create art that pushes the boundaries of our preconceived ideas and encourages us to expand our perspectives on topics that we previously thought were so black and white.   

Who stands behind the film trilogy?

Man with a Hat Foundation is behind the film trilogy, as they focus on dance films and aim to connect a wide audience to this art form, even when dance lovers cannot visit the theater. The foundation's mission is to support, develop, and produce Bulgarian talent in the field of contemporary dance and dance film.  

BECOMING is realized within the framework of the Focus Screendance program with the support of the National Culture Fund of the Republic of Bulgaria.

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