Sunny Beach, 1979. Among the sun-worshipping tourists, strapping Bulgarian men whisper sweet nothings to young women’s ears, “I can talk to you about poetry or anything, or would you like a massage?”
Hunks like this can be found in many holiday destinations, but what happens to these Casanovas of the Black Sea as they get on in years? Some of them surely move onto other things, buy then there is Ivan. He has flirted with wealthy ladies to earn his keep for forty years, but he’d like to quit. Unfortunately, he is not exactly rolling in dough.
Ivan would also really like to fix his relationship with his son living in Ukraine, so that he would get to meet his first grandchild. Then, the pandemic sweeps over the world, everything closes, and tourists abandon even Sunny Beach. Ivan tries to keep himself afloat, but the despair starts to show. His scraggy form, the smell of cigarettes, and the speech slurred by alcohol are not exactly appealing to the women that he is attempting to attract to Bulgaria through video calls.
Tonislav Hristov (The Magic Life Of V) is known for his emphatic gaze, which comes through again here. His portrait of Ivan is a warm, at times brutally honest and bittersweet look at the life of an aging ladies’ man in a changing world, where pandemics and wars bring surprising twists on the way of life.
Santtu Nikula (translated by Inari Ylinen)
Director Tonislav Hristov attends the screening of his film on Fri, Feb 2.