Mr. Maznikow is a minister, tasked with the very difficult mission of doing nothing. Meanwhile, his family travels to the city, their life depending on his decisions.
TURN IT OFF
> Your short film has a mixture of serious and comic elements. Why did you want to create this mixture?
I feel that, in some way, that’s a reflection to the situation that we’ve had in Bulgaria for the last 20 years: you have a government that is very distant from the ordinary people that live in the country, and all of its decisions are completely disconnected to what’s happening around it. The government has created a bubble around itself, where everything is bright and perfect, and that’s why on Maznikov’s side everything is clear and calm, while the other side is grimy and confusing.
I truly think that, nowadays, the government and the people do not share the same space. This thing that Maznikov does, of playing origami with the papers in his office, truly important papers, is how I see bureaucracy in Bulgaria working nowadays: they’re full of these papers that are really important to people, but they don’t care.
> Do you think short films are an apt space to explore this kind of political ideas?
The good thing about movies is that everything has a story – and with films, the only thing that you have to do is to tell those stories. As an art form, or a medium, cinema -and short films- can help translating a lot of the problems that we face to the viewers, be it trough making a kind of drama or something closer to a comedy, which was my choice.
A lot of Bulgarian short films are very straightforward and dramatic, but I think that if your only way of educating people is to point your finger at things, and act as a tough teacher, expecting people to act, nobody will listen to you. I think it’s better to present the problems in a kind of simpler, easier way, and then let the people decide.
> At the end of your movie, we see how the TV is muted while the character is still talking. Could this have any deeper implications?
I suppose we could sit here for hours talking about the deeper implications of things, like you do in the classroom, haha. Personally, I suggest people to seek their own interpretation: my own take is that, if you don’t want to listen to something, you can always turn it off.
This is the first part of an interview with Veselin Zografov about two of his short films, which were both selected to be screened at IN THE PALACE. To read the second part, click here.
At the point of this interview, Veselin was immersed in the shooting of an “experimental” documentary, going through the life of a communist bloc telling “its own story”.