T(h)races by Vladimir Vasilev.
T(h)races portays today's Bulgaria with vibrant colour and bold voice.
Reflecting a mixture of absurdity, subtle irony, hope and disillusion.
Vasilev paints his own country with the various tints of the pre and post-communism era, achieving a work that at stages recalls nostalgia but never without falling into its obvious and overplayed traps. A unique voice documenting a quirkly yet wonderful narrative.
"In January 2007, Bulgaria joined the European Union. It's a dream come true.
However, forty-five years of communism have had a lasting effect: the past is omnipresent, and it seems there is no future beyond.
The future has to be reinvented, taking into account many uncertainties and absurdities which are part of the process.
Time seems to stand still and nostalgia for the past takes a central role, making desires seem surreal.
Today's poverty and hope for a prosperous future coexist anecdotally, and they blend together into the Bulgarian context.
As in a fiction movie, appearances are deceptive. Are the boundaries between the
real and the imaginary disappearing before our very eyes?
The idea of the "T(h)races" project, a documentary work on Bulgaria started after I left my country.
The word T(h)races can mean remnants of an ancient civilization living on the Bulgarian lands and traces of the past.
But what remains of Bulgaria today?
I have been taking color photos for ten years now of the rapid and violent changes of a country that I hardly recognize.
On each trip, I find this continuing and unfathomable chaos exclusive to Bulgaria.
These changes bear witness to the past: from the collapse of the Soviet Union to
the accession of Bulgaria to the European Union. Pulled between the West, embodied by Europe and the US (swamping the country with pictures through television and advertising), and the wounds left by 45 years of dictatorship, the country is at a crossroads.This is a personal project: all these people in the pictures are either my neighbors, or my friends' friends, or even perfect strangers.
This narration is done both as a Bulgarian and a European citizen. This dual culture is a challenge for the new Bulgaria, trying to fight its way off the beacons from the past in the wake of a Western Europe, while trying to preserve its unique identity. Could the traces left from the past leave the Thracians at an impasse? " VV
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