A middle-aged Bulgarian is watching the change of the guard in front of the Buckingham Palace. For no apparent reason, while looking, in his mind he gets back to his childhood in the little Bulgarian village he grew up in. Different rites, different traditions and still he finds something in common. He recalls the people he knew, he feared or admired. He ponders over that life of no brilliance, where people plough, harvest, marry and die, celebrate or grieve. Miracle are also worked, conceived in a unlimited child’s imagination. It is the child’s perception of the world that helps us to give a meaning to the major questions of human existence.
The Tied up Balloon was one of the most innovative and challenging works by Bulgaria’s pioneering female director, Binka Zhelyazkova. Set during WWII, a barrage balloon inexplicably appears in the sky above a remote peasant village creating an atmosphere of alarm, speculation and debate.
In a white ward in a clinic a lifetime balance on the verge of death. Memories are herding together in the mind of seriously ill Aleksandrov, a scientist, who evaluates and reevaluates his own life: friendships, loves, career. Images of his youth are crowding in: of his beloved, of his children, of evenings, spent with his friends, ups and downs. And no one is able to say if all this made any difference.
On a hot summer day three boys are splashing around the river. One of them gets his hand caught in the stone masonry of a railway bridge. Many peasants, the passengers from the train, which stops nearby, and the crews of tanks taking part in a military exercise flock to the scene of accident.
Nine-year-old Vanyo often plays with wooden swords and cardboard knight’s armour. He gradually confronts the life of grown-ups. The boy is confused – why do his parents say one thing and do another? Vanyo feels increasingly lonely and, in his thoughts, he talks to the only person he trusts – his uncle Georgi. It is only with him that the boy feels happy. Together, they go to the printer’s, to rehearsals at the theatre, and they watch movies. Uncle Georgi never interrupts Vanyo’s words and questions; he treats him seriously. How is this tiny knight going to enter life without an internal armour against rudeness and egoism?
The daily routine in the village of Yugla is shaken by the statistician clerk Asenov who come with a mission to take the census of the hares in the locality. He makes the village mayor Bay Georgi mobilize the local men in realization of the absurd task. On the very day all the village men are in the field. The mayor, the teacher, the veterinarian… even an old men join the group. Naturally all the efforts failed in fulfilling the mission since not a single hare came into sight.