Georgi (Ovanes Torosian) and Itso (Christo Christov) are brothers. Georgi, the younger one, still lives at home and gets caught up in a neonazi group. Itso is a talented artist but is constantly battling his drug addiction which he’s slowly replacing with an alcohol addiction. When Georgi and his group attack a Turkish family on visit in Sofia, Itso steps in to help them.
Eastern Plays pretends to be a movie about the two brothers, but actually it’s a declaration of love to Christo Christov the actor. Christov and Kalev were good friends and Christov died before the movie was finished. Nevertheless, the movie is an interesting look at Sofia and the political problems it faces today. And the soundtrack was really cool.
Honestly, it’s rather difficult to say anything about this movie because it was completely overshadowed by Christo Christov. He not only gets the most screen time and attention – he demands to have it all. And Kalev and the viewer is all too happy to oblige because he does give a fascinating performance.
But because of that focus Eastern Plays doesn’t give you what it promises. I expected a story of two brothers on different ends of the political spectrum and how they clash together. But in the end it’s Itso standing rock solid and everything around him bounces off against him.
I was also a little uncomfortable with the portrayal of the women in this film. Itso treats his kind of girlfriend (or is she an ex?) like shit while pining after Isil (Saadet Isil Aksoy), the daughter of the Turkish family he saved from the neonazi group. And Isil, as well as Georgi’s new girlfriend, are both treated like they are the only salvation for the men. Yeah, nice try, but whether you think women are more than human or less than human hardly makes a difference: You still refuse to see them as human.
But what the movie did right was the cinematography and the views of Sofia it captured (visually as well as metaphorically). I left the movie with the feeling that I know Sofia a little bit (of course, the only time I was there I saw basically the airport and nothing else, so I don’t know if in the end, my feeling will hold up to the truth).
Oh, and the soundtrack was awesome, especially the songs by Nasekomix.
So, despite its problems, it is a movie worth checking out if you get the chance. If only to get an impression of Sofia and Christo Christov.