A Bulgarian "portrait" of Julia Kristeva

Photo: BGNES

The premiere of the Documentary “Who's Afraid of Julia Kristeva” is among the latest cultural events in Bulgaria. “We are the ones who are afraid of Julia Kristeva the most. Julia Kristeva is the Iskra Angelovaname of a very successful woman who lives in Western Europe and the USA. Unfortunately, we can't forgive successful people yet”, one of the authors of the documentary and host of Night Birds evening talk show at the Bulgarian National Television Iskra Angelova says. Iskra is a script-writer of the documentary and its co-director together with Milena Getova.

“You are talking to a woman of Bulgarian origin, French nationality and European citizenship who was adopted by the USA”, Julia Kristeva points out in this documentary. She was true to her own style and made a brief description of herself. That is why we will refrain from mentioning hundreds of facts and details of such a huge biography. We will only mention the most important details:

In 1966 Julia left Bulgaria with USD 5 in her pocket. She worked mainly in France. In the USA she was employed at Columbia University in New York. She worked in several fields such as linguistics, semiotics and philosophy. She also wrote some essays and novels. Julia Kristeva is a laureate of high orders such as the Order of the Legion of Honor in France, the Holberg prize in Norway, etc.

She worked together with world celebrated intellectuals such as Roland Barthes, Umberto Eco and Tzvetan Todorov. Here is an interesting fact: Julia has been helping young people attracted by the Islamic radicalism in Paris with psychoanalysis, Iskra Angelova says.

СнимкаWhy people call Julia Kristeva the last publicly known intellectual?

“Julia became one of the public intellectuals of the 20th century, an opinion maker and a person who creates attitudes, changes attitudes and acts like a true leader. This is in fact the most astonishing moment in her story. Yes, there are many brilliant and skilled opera singers in Bulgaria, many talented athletes, we also have Christo, but we have Julia and Tzvetan Todorov on the “intellectual mat”, Iskra Angelova explains.“Julia is a very unusual and provocative author and person. That is why the documentary we made about her was a real challenge. We were crossing the streets of Paris with Julia. She showed us her most-favorite spots, her favorite cafeterias, libraries and shops. We also met some of her friends and followers, as well as with the person she lives with- the incredible Philippe Sollers. It was a very interesting and intriguing experience. However, the most- amazing thing was Julia's gigantic success on the world stage.”

Julia Kristeva's most interesting and important ideas are related with the personality and her attitude towards national roots, Europe and the world as a whole. In her novel Murder in Byzantium a person from the cosmopolitan city of Santa Barbara (California) goes on the trail of his ancestor who joined the First Crusade and crosses the Bulgarian lands which were at that time under Byzantine rule. “Being a foreigner is a matter of choice”, the celebrated Bulgarian says. “It is a difficult choice that allows you to think about others, which is the only way to feel free - I do not belong to certain place and that fact makes me a free person”. However, Julia says a lot of beautiful words about the Bulgarian people and those who live in that region. “That place is a real treasure-house of rich historical memory that materializes in the dignity of the local people and their aspiration to continue living as well - educated and highly-intelligent men and women, although their living standard is very low. Those people do not deserve to suffer the heavy consequences of the economic dominance of the mafia.”

And more from Iskra Angelova: “Julia is an atheist, who constantly studies and tries to introduce the Christian ideas and other religious ideas in the lives of the modern people.”



Several films have been already made about Julia Kristeva in France. Iskra Angelova's documentary is the first major Bulgarian film work about that world-acclaimed intellectual of Bulgarian origin.”

English version: Kostadin Atanasov 

Photos: BGNES and archive
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