Film maker Rangel Valchanov passed away

Photo: BGNES
One of the greatest masters of Bulgarian cinema Rangel Valchanov passed away just before turning 85. He was a director of nearly 20 Bulgarian movies and script-writer of another 8 films. He also performed in several movies as well as on the theatre stage in Bulgaria. Rangel Valchanov was elected best Bulgarian film director of the 20th century. He was a member of the European Film Academy and a laureate of many Bulgarian and international awards.

I remember a very unusual party in the summer of 2006 in Boyana Film Studios which marked the 20th anniversary of the movie entitled Which Way Now- a popular film of the 1980’s. Director Valchanov gathered 26 ambitious students from the National Academy of Theatre and Film Arts in this movie. The shootings were mainly made under the improvisation method where the characters of the participants were highlighted. The renowned director and the amateur actors worked together on the characters of the movie. “This was my debut in cinema, says for RB Stefan Kitanov who is currently a Director of the Sofia International Film Festival. It was extremely exciting to work with Rangel Valchanov. He created an incredible working atmosphere and we were all captured by his magic.” Back in 2006, Boyana Film Studios hosted the shootings of the sequel of Which Way Now movie with the same actors. The creators of the film wanted to see the evolution of the so-called generation of the transition period. This was a very interesting and useful initiative for the Bulgarian cinema and its history.

Rangel Valchanov was an original maker who used his imagination to make experiments in his films. In the movie entitled The Unknown Soldier’s Patent Leather Shoes, shot through the yeas of a seven-year old child, the renowned director takes us through the one-time Bulgarian village and its ancient traditions all the way to the… Buckingham Palace.
The movie is a mixture of fabulous scenes and great sense of humor and the characters of the classical rural Bulgaria stand engraved in our memory.

One of the brightest roles of Rangel Valchanov at the theatre stage was in Lazaritsa mono play written by the classic of the Bulgarian literature Yordan Radichkov. Despite his advanced age, Valchanov re-embodied into the peasant who decides to shoot his dog under suspicions of rabies. A coincidence, however, turns the peasant who is standing on a tree into a captive of the pet. Jumping from one bough to another, the man throws insults and threatens the dog and reminds the pet the good old times-an expression of the imperfect human nature.

Rangel Valchanov was quite ill during the last years of his life. However, he managed to write three books. One of them was entitled “We will all die, and now Cheers!”

Rest in peace, Maestro! 

English version: Kostadin Atanasov
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