DETOUR: Women in Bulgarian Cinema


Video installation, consisting of ten videos. 360 min. 60 drawings.

The video installation “DETOUR: Women in Bulgarian Cinema” includes interviews with eleven women, representatives of various professions, who analyze female characters in six Bulgarian films created between 1965 and 2017: “The She-Wolf” (1965), “Detour” (1967), “Monday Morning “(1968),” The Last Word “(1972),” Seamstresses “(2007) and “Voevoda”(2017). The viewers get introduced to the film stories through an animation consisting of my drawings, some of which are presented in the gallery space, creating an immersive environment. The project is accompanied by a compilation of interviews with famous filmmakers on gender representation in their work, conducted in 2008 as my doctorate research.

The aim of the project is to trace the history of female characters in Bulgarian cinema, through the eyes of our contemporaries, to review the social problems that these characters reflect or criticize and the role models they promote. This historical, social, and visual analysis of these images of women also aims to create continuity between generations of women and their struggles for self-realization and happiness. In focus is the construction of new political and sociocultural identities along with political and social changes in society. The project also aims to raise the issue of regression in some areas of women’s emancipation in Bulgaria, which is increasingly felt after the mid-1990s. Analyses reveal the increasingly aggressive and reactionary creation of “new” female characters that serve conservative ideologies and are becoming more popular today. Last but not least, the project repeats the thesis that women’s rights are not a given, but have been achieved by other women and men. Images presented in the film are very popular and formative for the audience’s minds, therefore their analysis can show in detail specific political and social phenomena of the time in which these images appeared.

I dedicate the exhibition to my father Dimitar.

Commissioned by Bulgarian Fund for Women. Curator: Stefka Tsaneva.

The first stage of this project was shown in 2020 at the collective exhibition “Everything is fine” an exhibition dedicated to women issues in Bulgaria.

Project by Boryana Rossa

Idea, directing and drawings: Boryana Rossa

Camera: Kalin Serapionov, Boryana Rossa

Sound post-production: Sean Dillman

Editing: Oleg Mavromatti, Boryana Rossa

Translation and subtitles Ioan Baunzurkov

Part 1: Films

The She-Wolf, 1965; Detour 1967; The Last Word 1972; Voevoda 2018.

Interviews with: Galina Bezlova and Gloria Filipova; Teodora Dragoeva and Jeni Maneva; Maria Minkova; Zhivka Valyavicharska; Eleonora Bozilova and Lea Marinova.

Commissioned by Bulgarian Fund for Women. Curator: Stefka Tsaneva. Images from the installation at Goethe Institut, Sofia, Bulgaria, 2021. The first stage of this project was shown in 2020 at the collective exhibition “Everything is Fine” an exhibition dedicated to women’s issues in Bulgaria.

Part 2: Films

And We Were Young 1961; Monday Morning 1968; Everything is Love 1972; Seamstresses 2007.

Interviews with:

Irina Stoilova; Tsvetelina Hristova; Eleonora and Lea Marinova; Daniela Kostova and Svetlana Mincheva.

Part 3: Movies

Ladies Turn 1980; Lady Z 2005; Mission London 2010.

Interviews with:

Teodora Dragoeva and Jeni Maneva; Maria Minkova; Galina Belova and Gloria Filipova.