Glory grabbed me from its first realistic scenes to its devastating ending. Described as Capra-esque and a black comedy, this is anything but; intense, understated and bleak, it is a powerful drama about what is lost when corruption and greed win out over humanity.
Tzanko Petrov (Stefan Denolyubov), a quiet linesman for the railway, discovers a cache of currency track-side as he goes about his work. Alerting the police rather than pocketing the fortune, he is ridiculed by friends and feted by authorities and media.
As head of PR for the Ministry of Transport, Julia Staykova (Margita Gosheva) is a slick bureaucrat whose only concern is diverting negative attention away from the Minister. She sees Tzanko’s good deed as a feel good story that will serve her own purposes. Before long, he is inexorably swept up into a world of bureaucracy, corruption and ineptitude.
For much of the film, this seems to be the story of Tzanko, representative of the good, honest folk of Bulgaria who are at the mercy of the government. His inability to speak underlines the government’s reluctance to hear. It is also, though, the story of Julia and we see how her work, life and personal needs intersect.
Julia’s husband Valeri (Kitodar Todorov), is perennially smiling and trying to do good. He provides something of a Greek chorus, a conscience and rationalisation for Julia’s actions but he is oblivious to the reality of the society in which he lives.
The ending, for me, was perfect. It upended all my assumptions of morality and consequences.
Have you seen this film? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.