Today, he spotlights Viktoria.
Viktoria Directed by Maya Vitkova Monday, November 17, 6:45 p.m. (advance tickets sold old; tickets may be available one hour prior to showtime) Wednesday, November 19, 7:15 p.m. SDFF Sie FilmCenter
Viktoria is a film made in Bulgaria, "which is interesting right off the bat, because that's something we don't see very often," Withey says. "It's a drama, but one that's sort of surreal and absurdist.
"The film is about a woman in late '70s Bulgaria who's a die-hard communist -- very hard-line. She's a worker and she really doesn't want a family, but she gets pregnant, and the child ends up being born with no umbilical cord. And the government treats it like a miracle baby, the socialist baby of the decade."
"The child is taken over by the government and given all the perks you can imagine as a representative of the government," Withey goes on. "She gets her own apartment, has her own motorcade and limo and is taken wherever she wants to go -- and that makes the mother even more bitter and angry.
"Then, ten years later, communism crashes and the ten-year-old child is dropped and given back to her mother -- and they have to find a way to get along with each other, to become a family. And that's extremely difficult, because the child was sort of treated like a queen, and now she's not being treated that way anymore, and the mother, who didn't want her in the first place, is being put in the position of having to be a mom.
"It's a very dark comedy, but also a political tale as well, and exceptionally beautiful to watch on screen. There's one scene in which this woman finds herself in a rainstorm, and it seems to be raining milk...."
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Below, see a trailer for Viktoria. To access all the film festival's selections and purchase tickets, click here -- and be sure be to visit our Show and Tell blog each day during the fest for more of Brit's picks.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.