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(aka "The World Is Big and Salvation Lurks Around the Corner" or "Svetat e golyam i spasenie debne otvsyakade" or "A világ nagy és a megváltás a sarkon ólálkodik" or "Die Welt ist groß und Rettung lauert überall" or "Svet je velik in resitev se skriva za vogalom" )

 

 directed by Stephan Komandarev
Bulgaria/Germany/Slovena/Hunary 2008

 

When Alexander (Carlo Ljubek, THE BAADER MEINHOF COMPLEX) is in a road accident and his parents are killed - Vasil (Hristo Mutafchiev) and Yana (Ana Papadopulu) - his "Backgammon King" grandfather Bai Dan (Miki Manojlovic, THE BURMA CONSPIRACY) travels from his home in Bulgaria to care for him and discovers that the young man is suffering from retroactive amnesia. The doctors advise Bai Dan that telling Alexander about his parents could do more harm than good; however, the old man grows tired of trying to jog his grandson's memory when he won't even leave his hospital room. He breaks the news of their deaths to Alexander, who still does not remember anything. Bai Dan decides to take Alexander back home to Bulgaria; however, he chooses to do it in a way that will hopefully help him recover his memories (by traveling back along the same route that Alexander and his parents took to escape communist Bulgaria years before). As the pair travel on two-seater bicycle back to Bulgaria by way of Italy - where Alexander and his parents spent years at a labor camp when they could not get political asylum - we experience through flashbacks not only Alexander's own memories, but also the impossible situation that made it necessary for them to flee the country in the first place (as well as the fallout that Bai Dan and Alexander's grandmother "Sladka" [Lyudmila Cheshmedzhieva, THE PEACH THIEF] experienced at the hands of a communist commandant [Nikolai Urumov, AFTER THE END OF THE WORLD]).

A Bulgarian/Slovenian/German/Hungarian co-production shot in Bulgaria, Germany, and Italy, THE WORLD IS BIG AND SALVATION LURKS AROUND THE CORNER (based on the novel by Ilija Trojanow who - like Alexander - is also a German translator of Bulgarian descent) is a bit heavy-handed in its symbolism (Grandma Sladka's inexplicably burned pastries following the accident, the hanging dice in Alexander's parent's car, and the Backgammon metaphor of luck and chance [not to mention the miracle throw at the end]). It would be trite if not for the engaging lead performances of Ljubek and Manojlovic (Cheshmedzhieva pulls some heart-wrenching pained expressions but she, Mutafchiev, and Papadopulu are given less dimensionally-rendered characters). Alexander conveniently falls for Maria (Dorka Gryllus, SOUL KITCHEN) - a festival dancer from Hungary who fortunately lives in Germany - but the film is sweet enough to get away with this contrivance; although it may have downplayed the darker aspects of the refugee experience (one monologue tells us more about the experience in the Italian camp than several of the scenes set there).

Eric Cotenas

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Theatrical Release: 10 October 2008 (Bulgaria)

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DVD Review: Olive Films - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Distribution

Olive Films

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 1:50:56
Video

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.5 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio Bulgarian/German/Italian/Hungarian/Slovenian/English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
Subtitles English (burnt-in)
Features Release Information:
Studio: Olive Films

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• none

DVD Release Date: 20 December 2011
Amaray

Chapters 8

 

Comments

Olive Films' disc of this Bulgarian/Slovenian/Hungarian/German co-production is given a respectful dual-layer, progressive, anamorphic transfer. Audio, however, is only 2.0 stereo (the German import reportedly has a 5.1 mix of the multi-language track as well as a full German 5.1 dub). There are no extras.

  - Eric Cotenas

 


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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

Distribution

Olive Films

Region 1 - NTSC

 

 




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