From Teodor Ushev’s Facebook page
It doesn’t matter if Maria Bakalova wins an Oscar tonight or not. What this girl has achieved is unprecedented success and breakthrough. Before that happened, I was sure that a Bulgarian actor had no chance of ever being nominated for an Oscar, “Bafta” and all the other recognitions and awards she received.
But, here – a girl from Burgas did it, and in the most stunning way. She behaved with dignity, made a brilliant campaign, positioned herself well in the extremely difficult and cruel film business for at least a few years to come.
This will never happen again. At least in the next 50 years or so. It will not happen not only because it borders on the miracle. It is also because the way the audience, the society in Bulgaria reacted to this unheard achievement for a Bulgarian actor, was unhealthy. From neighborhood disputes, through patriotic expulsions or neglect, to ordinary provincial envy.
No, there can be no great, significant world art (in particular cinema) in Bulgaria. There can be no film like the Bosnian Quo Vadis, Aida, or the Polish Cold War, or the Lebanese The Man Who Sold His Skin, or the Macedonian Honeyland.
Because there are no brave artists who will stick their finger in the hundreds of bleeding wounds of this country, and at the risk of being insulted, breaking the stigmas, lies and false idols and myths.
That is why our culture is doomed to surrogates, imitations, kitsch, and rehabilitated social foundations.
For 75 years Bulgarian art has been suffocated by the terrible and indelible incompetence of fear.
Fear of the strong of the day, of the institutions, of public opinion, of the haters, of the conjuncture, of the ban, of the pandemic, of the famine. Fear, fear, fear. Fear is played in Bulgarian theaters, “fear” is projected in cinemas, artists paint “fear”.
Fear of pronunciation, honestly and frankly – why Bulgarian culture, despite the presence of individual talents, fails to create important, exciting, large-scale works.
A nation is great not with its history, past and legends.
But with its contemporaries. With those hundreds of thousands of majestic “nows” that are happening now in thousands of places around the world, as we enthusiastically comment on another ambitious political nonsense.
There is a lack of courage from a group of people to oppose the suffocating mud of institutionalized and reproducible mediocrity.
No one will ask why Morfov, Bakalova, Ralitsa Petrova, Sancho Finci and many other radical artists turned out to be banned, insulted and disliked at home.
The Oscars will pass, on Tuesday no one will remember who won, who lost, many of the winners will be forgotten. These are the normal processes in the normal cultural industry. In this normal world there are fashions, waves, new stars. And many falling ones.
What is missing are the fossilized greatness and the decades-long idleness. You come, you do your job, and you leave. Few are those who manage to stay more than 5-6 years.
Therefore – a big congratulations to Maria for the courage and a sip of hope.
She has already succeeded in the most important category – the category of decent behavior. There she is a clear winner.