Por aportar algo, dejo una entrevista a la directora de un documental sobre ella y abajo un fragmento del mismo, para abrir boca:
SKS: Considering her pioneering career, why do you think Zhelyazkova is so neglected by film history?
EN: Bulgaria is a very small country. It was also a very closed country. The state sponsored film industry produced 20 films a year out of which maybe a few were seen outside of Bulgaria, mostly in the Eastern Bloc. I asked Binka personally about her experiences when she was at the Expo '67 in Montreal with her film The Tied Up Balloon (Privarzaniyat balon, 1967), and at Cannes in 1974 with The Last Word (Poslednata duma, 1973). These were a few rare chances for her to meet with peers from outside the Iron Curtain. For her, these events were great experiences but unfortunately they were never followed by more screenings. There remained few opportunities for exposure. The story goes that The Tied Up Balloon was bought for distribution abroad but the State Cinematography cancelled the contract paying penalties. Even film scholars who specialise in Eastern Europe have heard very little, or not at all, about her work. Even though she claimed that she didn't have contact with filmmakers from other countries and that it was hard to exchange ideas, she stayed in touch with what was going on in cinema at the time. She was right on the mark with the Italian Neorealism with her film We Were Young (A byahme mladi, 1961), the French New Wave with The Tied Up Balloon and feminism with The Last Word. Thematically and stylistically, her work was in tune with all these developments in cinema.
SKS: What do you consider to be her most important films?
EN: I think the period from 1957-1981 was the time when Binka Zhelyazkova produced her most important work. Her first film Partisans (1957), which she co-directed with her husband, is very important because it was one of the first films in Eastern Europe to address the personality cult and the corruption within the newly established system. It also showed the power of Zhelyazkova's visual style, which she demonstrated in abundance in her next film We Were Young. This film established her as independent from her husband director and showed her potential in full force. The film won first prize at the Moscow Film Festival in 1961. We have to remember that there were very few women in the fifties who were making feature films worldwide, and one of them was Binka Zhelyazkova. My favourite of her films is The Tied Up Balloon and it is very different from We Were Young. If We Were Young draws on Italian Neorealism and is very classic in structure, The Tied Up Balloon is post-modern in structure. It employs an army balloon as its main character and has a bunch of raggedy-rag peasants who are chasing it from one village to another. Also in the film there is a beautiful but mute young woman who somehow becomes entangled in the chase. Unfortunately the film was seen as a threat to the image of the Bulgarian peasant and maybe as a comment on the larger picture of what was going on in society at the time, so it was shelved for 30 years by a party decree.
This was an extremely damaging moment for Binka's career, because it excluded the film from the process and the attention she could have gotten for such an innovative film. It is an important film because it employs new and innovative techniques for its time, but for me the most significant element is maybe the use of silence in the treatment of the character of the young woman, an alter ego of the director herself, who felt as if her voice was being taken away during the making of the film and afterwards. Interestingly enough a few years later this technique was used by feminists to voice their frustration with the existing film language in its treatment of women on screen. Binka built on this idea later in The Last Word, for which she wrote the script as well. Even though thematically the film deals with the antifascist movement during the Second World War, it has only women characters in the main roles, although they were women in prison. It is an explosive and very dynamic film, which was in competition at the Cannes Film Festival in 1974. There is a scene where the women prisoners, after their hair is cut as a punishment for disobedience, laugh at the warden, who is watching them behind a window on the second floor of the prison. Binka was again on the mark by employing laughter in her attempt to break the silence and find a voice for these women.
Inspired by The Last Word were the two documentaries The Bright and the Dark Side of Things (Lice i opuko, 1982) and Sleep, My Baby (Nani-na, 1982) about the women and their babies at the only women's prison in Bulgaria. In my view these two films are unique not only because the cinematography is haunting but also because they give us a glimpse of the state of the prison system in the socialist society. In a society where officially women had equal rights, where there was no unemployment and crime was little visible on the streets – it was severely punished and swept under the rug – women tell stories of abandonment not only by their husbands but also by the system who failed to protect them, so they had to take the law in their own hands. Unfortunately the fate of these two films followed the fate of The Tied Up Balloon. They were screened only at a private screening and shelved for a long time.
Her later career was marked by disillusionment which is reflected in her last feature films, the trilogy consisting of The Swimming Pool (Baseynat, 1977), The Big Night Bath (Golyamoto noshtno kapane, 1980), and On The Roofs At Night (Noshtem po pokrivite, 1988).
SKS: How is Zhelyazkova viewed in Bulgaria at present?
EN: Binka Zhelyazkova is very well known among the film community but outside of that it is a different story. Still very little is known about her work even in Bulgaria. Her films are rarely shown and there are not released on DVD, which makes them inaccessible to the modern audiences.
https://www.closeupfilmcentre.com/verti ... t-silence/