The significance of emotions in Bulgarian historical film

Gergana Doncheva.

The article discusses the significance of emotions in Bulgarian historical film in the context of the theoretical concepts of national identity elaborated in the field of social sciences by prominent scholars such as Eric Hobsbawm, Ernest Gellner, Anthony Smith and Benedict Anderson. Having clarified the mutual relations between the notions of national identity and national cinematography, the author reveals the function of historical film as an element in the process of imagining of a Nation.

Special attention was paid to the titles belonging to the so-called ‘Medieval’ cycle – the majority of them were created within the frames of the grandiose cultural project 1300 Years Bulgaria realized in the end of Lyudmila Zhivkova’s epoch. These movies became very popular because they provoke a powerful emotional appeal in terms of national pride.

At the opposite side of the emotional spectrum are situated the cinematic texts shot after 1989 that deconstructed the old national myths about the homogenous Nation by introducing the topic of the traumatic sites of memory: the painful memories of establishing of the communist regime in Bulgaria, and above all, the memory of the events concerning the ‘revival process’. In Bulgarian cinema the ‘revival process’ was interpretated in the emotional mode of the collective shame and the inevitable national atonement.