It’s 1979 in Sofia, Bulgaria, and Boryana (Irmena Chichikova), despite her best efforts, is pregnant. Her dreams of escaping Soviet rule (and her Stalin-loving mother) are dashed when her child is born without a belly button and hailed as a national miracle. Her daughter Viktoria is a little tyrant—she’s personally spoiled by Bulgaria’s socialist head of state, to Boryana’s great disgust. But the family dynamics shift once more with communism’s collapse in 1989. Writer/director Maya Vitkova’s debut screened at Sundance in 2014, the first Bulgarian film to do so. With poignant moments and meditative cinematography, Vitkova captures an exquisite, unsentimental portrayal of motherhood.


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