Red_Square Sofia - Part 8

posted by Dimiter on 2006/02/22 15:20

[ Red_Square Sofia ]

I have mentioned Lyudmila Zhivkova and her controversial personality in previous post. Yesterday the BNT (Bulgarian National Television) broadcasted a documentary film about important moments of her life, narrated by some of her closest friends, colleagues and researchers of the period.
The title of the film is The Last Seven Years of Lyudmila Zhivkova’s Life. The authors of the documentary are the director Vasa Gancheva (popular media expert, translator, Head of the Scandinavian Studies Department at the Sofia University), the two script writers Stefka Koleva and Petya Tetevenska (journalists).

Although it tries to look at Lyudmila from various angles, the film story is told mainly from the perspective of her closest friends and relatives. They use different strategies to explain her positive role in the advancement of Bulgarian culture in the 70ies and early 80ies. This is a mainstream story and it reproduces the already established mythology of Lyudmila and her skillful maneuvers in opposing the communist ideology and USSR domination. Her friends often noted the fact that the Soviets did not approve her nationalistic project for promotion and protection of Bulgarian cultural and historical heritage (the peak was the commemoration of 1300 years of Bulgarian state in 1981) and that she was under close KGB investigation, her unreliable and strange fascination by Indian culture, Agne-Yoga, esoterism, etc. To this martyrdom theory a significant weight adds the mysterious death of Lyudmila. Still there are no proves whether she died from illness, murder or suicide…

The authors introduce also alternative and more critical views about Lyudmila’s role in those years although they are isolated. Evelina Kelbecheva’s (a historian) story is explaining Lyudmila as natural deviation, a child (literally and symbolically) of the late and mature totalitarian regime…

Besides some unfamiliar facts about Lyudmila’s life and her various images reflected in the eyes of her closest, I found it difficult to follow the core film story. The authors somehow mirrored their incoherent interpretation into Lyudmila’s controversial personality and I guess, used it as an excuse for the disorientation they left in me.



Welcome to the [Sofia] weblog, a part of the Kakanien Revisited weblog network. The Team - Dimiter, Assen and Mira - all three PhD students in the Department of History and Theory of Culture at the Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski" will try to create an image - although sometimes a faceted and incoherent one - of the Bulgarian academia, culture, ongoing events, ideas, realities and virtual spaces. All of you - our readers - are warmheartedly invited to join us in this endeavor with your comments and suggestions.
The Sofia Team in Vienna: A working session with the local kakanian penguins
> RSS Feed RSS 2.0 feed for Kakanien Revisited Blog Sofia