FNE at Golden Rose 2020: Dante’s Heaven

    Vladimir Penev and Radina Borshosh in Dante's Heaven by Dimitar Radev Vladimir Penev and Radina Borshosh in Dante's Heaven by Dimitar Radev

    VARNA: Dimitar Radev’s debut feature Dante’s Heaven, produced by PREMIERstudio, will screen in the main competition of the 38th Golden Rose National Film Festival (24 September - 1 October 2020).

    Radev, who is a Ph.D. student in post-modernist European and Bulgarian literature at the Sofia University, wrote the script. The main character is a 68-year-old man named after the Italian poet. By accident he learns that his mother was raped in a communist concentration camp by a man whose granddaughter is called Raya.

    “The idea for the script came to me in 2014 after I saw Atanas Kiryakov’s shocking documentary The Survivors (Stories from the Camps, 1990), in which witnesses tell their memories of the communist “death camps” in Northern Bulgaria. One of them compared what was going on there to the nine circles of Hell in Dante’s Divine Comedy. His words unlocked in me the first associations that mix the documentary and fictional layers of the plot. Finally, I wrote a script in which a contemporary Dante falls in love with Raya, who becomes his Beatrice”, Radev told FNE.

    The film combines modern episodes with flashbacks. The contemporary parts are shot with a handheld camera, while those dealing with the past are static and longer.

    The generational triangle is performed by three famous actors of different ages: the Mother is played by Ginka Stancheva, a famous diva from the 60s, the Golden Age of the Bulgarian cinema; Dante is performed by Vladimir Penev, a mature actor in the prime of his professional life, and finally, Raya is interpreted by Radina Borshosh, a talented emerging actress from today. “It was a question of personal pride for me to bring together several generations of Bulgarian actors and put them in the same world. I had the beginning, the middle and the future of Bulgarian cinema in one place!“ Radev said.

    The shooting took place in August 2019 in Sofia, with one shooting day in Paris.

    Kaloyan Bozhilov is the DoP. According to Radev “he created a nice metaphysical vision in Milko Lazarov’s Aga (coproduced by Red Carpet, Bulgaria / 42Film, Germany / Arizona Films, France) that I liked. As in Dante’s Heaven there is a clear reference to Dante’s Beatrice as an epitome of everything good and beautiful, I needed Bozhilov’s metaphysical style adapted to my story.”

    The film was produced by PREMIERstudio and suppoted by the Bulgarian National Film Center.

    Production Information:

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    Director: Dimitar Radev
    Scriptwriter: Dimitar Radev
    DoP: Kaloyan Bozhilov
    Composer: Dimo Stoyanov Pif
    Cast: Vladimir Penev, Radina Borshosh, Ginka Stancheva, Yavor Borisov, Boris Lukanov, Elitsa Mateva, Irina Miteva, Ivan Nalbantov, Dimitar Nikolov, Anthony Penev, Mihail Sarvanski, Kitodar Todorov