Set during one night in the life of several taxi drivers and their fares, Stephan Komandarev’s Directions offers a poignant autopsy of contemporary Bulgarian society’s joy, pain, and woes.
Contemporary World Cinema
Fresh from its premiere at Cannes and set during a night in the life of several taxi drivers and their passengers, Stephan Komandarev's Directions offers a glimpse into the joy and pain at the heart of Bulgarian society.
We begin in the daytime, as cabbie Misho (Vasil Vasilev-Zueka) starts his shift. His workshop is about to get repossessed if he doesn't come to an agreement with businessman and banker Popov (Georgi Kadurin). Despite running late, Misho goes out of his way to help a teenage escort, only to become more deeply mired in problems. Popov's refusal to offer a reprieve coupled with threats of increased debt push Misho to take catastrophic action.
We then ride shotgun as his colleagues hear the news of Misho's fate while carrying their fares on nighttime journeys. We serve as witnesses to the woes of everyday Bulgarians that are illustrated by multiple characters.
Under Komandarev's steady directorial hand, this Greek chorus is captured by a mobile camera, its urgent single takes adding layers of tension to each episode. These feel like real people with real stories and, through the film's excellent ensemble cast, the fragile humanity behind each inspires our empathy. Komandarev's take on his homeland reveals a good-natured heart whose deep-down optimism makes the ride to redemption all the more enjoyable.