Discovery

3/4

Ilian Metev

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Two talented siblings struggle with the idea of being separated while their astrophysicist father seems incapable of dealing with his children's anxieties, in Ilian Metev’s (Sofia’s Last Ambulance) touching portrait of a family during their last summer together.

Five years after debuting in Cannes with the award-winning feature documentary Sofia's Last Ambulance (2012), Ilian Metev is back with his much-anticipated narrative debut 3/4 and it is a wonder of docu-fiction filmmaking. A delicately executed portrait of family relationships, 3/4 walks the line between poetry and reality with conviction, confirming the advent of a New Bulgarian Cinema.

The titular trio is headed by genteel patriarch and astrophysics professor Todor (Todor Veltchev), whose arm's-length affection toward his children belies a need for stability. Mila (Mila Mihova), his daughter, is under pressure to pass an entrance exam for a piano school in Germany, while younger brother Niki (Nikolay Mashalov) is combatting his feelings about being separated from his sister with boisterous, pubescent outbursts.

The three orbit each other despite an unspoken but palpable absence… the missing quarter of the title. That is until collective loneliness, miscommunication, and anxiety put enough stress on everyone to upset the order of things.

Using fluid camerawork that frames its subjects frontally and in 4:3 ratio, Metev catalogues a series of moments in the lives of each family member as they deal with fear, isolation, and growth. The director covers his non-professional actors in golden light, isolating the impeccable detail of their natural performances. Every gesture, hesitation, and hint of emotional reaction bears the gravitas of a haiku or tone poem. 3/4 is a mature and thematically dense debut that begs repeated viewings.

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