Ilian Metev: Sofia’s Last Ambulance

Have you ever thought about becoming a doctor or a nurse on a Bulgarian ambulance? Well, as this little marvel of a film suggests, there might be an opening or two coming up.

It’s technically an observational film, but what we observe is not the action or the events in the daily life of the three characters, but mainly the faces. Mila, Klassi and Plamen are doctor, nurse and driver of an ambulance in Sofia, and quite radically we never really see their patients or even the ambulance itself. We do get glimpses of the surroundings, but for large portions of the film we see one of them sitting in the cockpit while the other two are out of frame. But still, due to their conversation, the futile calls to their headquarter and the circumstances of their different house calls, you get a very precise sense of their struggles to make their workday tolerable in the seemingly decaying society. The humanity of the three protagonists is vividly conveyed to us and even with the somewhat erratic filming and with no music to help us feel the right things; you are drawn into their daily life. 

The film and the main characters definitely have a sense of humour, but if I still needed a bit to be completely blown away it’s because I have a feeling, that it could have been even more grotesquely funny and thus giving an even stronger sense of their absurd situation. I guess I am always looking for that last bold step where a film not just observe an irrational reality but really takes it to another level by being a real DOComedy where also the filmmaker has something at stake.

Nevertheless, it has won a number of prizes and was shown at Semaine de la Critique in Cannes and I have this sensation that it will grow in my mind over the next days or weeks.

Ilian Metev: Sofia’s Last Ambulance, Bulgaria, 75 mins. Set på CPH:DOX i Falconer Biografen.

Link to Tue Steen Müller`s post, a second opinion… (ed.) 


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Mikkel Stolt
Mikkel Stolt
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