Georgi Bogdanov

Bulgaria

Georgi Bogdanov

director of photography, director

The Cars We Drove Into Capitalism

For many decades, every year, half of Europe was facing the complicated task of selecting a new car, among hundreds of new models arriving in to the market. The other half was free to choose from among 10 to 15 makes and models available to them from their States. Almost as Henry Ford put it about the Model T - Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants, as long as it is black. These products of the Social¬ist automotive industry were usually out of fashion, slow, clumsy, a pain to drive and repair - but still they were status symbols, no less important than a Chevy or a Mercedes in the West. Moreover, producing cars was also a question of national prestige - even countries without any automotive traditions (like Bulgaria or Romania) felt obliged to start production of their “own” makes, even if it meant only assembling some other car-maker’s rebranded models.
In almost every family there was a much loved, long-awaited polished and groomed Moskvich, Trabi or Dacia. It represented a touch of freedom, opening new horizons to make that long-dreamed trip to East Germany, Bulgaria or Hungary, or at least to the lake or mountains.
The Cars We Drove into Capitalism will be about the cars that are still alive in the memory of Europeans - as a sweet childhood remembrance or as a laughing stock. There will be stories of industrial espionage, design, politics, speed and love.

Revelation Point

Up until recently, in most of these countries the alienation in its various forms (feeling of powerlessness, meaninglessness, normlessness, social isolation, self-estrangement), together with the psychosomatic problems deriving from it, was considered something "foreign", something that exists somewhere in the Western world, but does not belong to you. In the course of less than two decades, it turned out that - together with junk food, genetically modified products etc. - all of these benefits of the post-modern capitalist society have been successfully imported to our daily life as well. The characters of the film come from different big and small towns in Bulgaria, Russia and Armenia - office workers, students, business owners, bankers, housewives… The stress of living in constantly changing and uncertain conditions has brought them a variety of mental, psychological and physical problems - and some of them have been pretty close to self-destruction. The common element is that all of them have decided to make a change, and all of them have joined a therapy group that sets laughter and positive thinking as a way to both mental and physical healing.
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