DIRECTOR: STEPHAN KOMANDAREV STARRING: ELI SKORCHEVA, GERASIM GEORGIEV, ROZALIA ABGARIAN, IVAN BARNEV RUNNING TIME: 1 HR 54 MINUTES
A teacher, who falls victim to a phone scam that robs her of her life savings, realizes that there is no way to get her money back. The tables then turn as cash begins rolling in as she transforms into a scammer herself.
Blaga’s Lessons is the International Feature submission from Bulgaria. Starring the incredible Eli Skorcheva, the film is about a 70 year old retired literature professor from Shumen named Blaga. Two weeks ago, her husband passed away unexpectedly so she’s decided to spend most of her savings in order to buy the most luxurious tombstone for the two of them as their final resting spot.
One day, Blaga receives a frantic phone call from a police officer stating that she’s in danger of getting robbed by a group of highly skilled scammers. The officer insists that if she cooperates, they will be able to arrest the culprit red-handed. Blaga must take all her money, put it in a bag, and throw it over the balcony. She does as she’s told. Little does she know that she’s been scammed. She’s lost all her cash. She can now no longer buy the tombstone. And now she has nothing. Blaga must now figure out who to do next, and she’s desperate and alone.
The psychological harm caused by scammers can have a direct impact on a victim’s well-being. Along with financial loss comes the deep emotional distress that can include shame, isolation, and lowered self-esteem. “You expect me to tell everybody what a stupid thing I did?” Their loss of trust in others can make them skeptical and paranoid when dealing with others. They may become more risk-averse than normal, which in turn, could forever impact their own lives due to the consequences of their actions in trying to feel whole again.
Anchored by an astounding performance and driven by a sense of bleak honesty, Blaga’s Lessons is a fascinating psychological drama about a woman who’s been violated, about a woman who’s entire life has changed because of one incident, about a woman who’s lost everything but not her willingness to fight back. Blaga goes to extreme measures to ensure her own survival, in a country where day to day life is hard. It’s a powerful exploration of desperation and the impact that it has on one’s well-being, both physically and mentally.
The most important thing is to see the sun rise again. But for the victims of scammers, the most important thing is to regain their sense of the world.