New East Cinema: Godless (Ralitza Petrova, 2016)

The Barbican Centre and The New Social are delighted to present the next screening as part of New East Cinema, a programme of contemporary film from the New East in collaboration with Calvert 22.

The screening is a UK premiere and will be followed by a ScreenTalk with director Ralitza Petrova.


Bulgaria / Denmark / France, 2016, dir. Ralitza Petrova, 99 mins

In a remote Bulgarian town, Gana (Irena Ivanova) is a visiting nurse who looks after elderly dementia patients while also trafficking their ID cards on the black market with her boyfriend and co-conspirator Aleko. She lives with her mother, with whom she barely speaks, and her relationship with Aleko centres on the pair’s addiction to morphine, small bottles of which Gana regularly stocks up on from the medical cupboards of her workplace.

Nothing seems to have consequences for Gana or to stir any emotion in her, not even the incidental murder of a patient who threatens to expose her trafficking business. It is not until she starts chatting to new patient and retired choirmaster Yoan, and listens to his chorus singing religious songs, that Gana’s own life and story begin to come into focus and her conscience begins to awaken from its morphine-induced stupor. This, however, does not come without personal risk or sacrifice.

Ralitza Petrova’s feature debut is a raw tale about what it takes to survive in an uncaring and complicit society that bears all the scars and marks of decades of oppressive rule.

Godless was awarded the Golden Leopard at the 2016 Locarno International Film Festival, as well as the Best Actress award and Ecumenical Jury Prize. This screening of Godless is a UK premiere.

About New East Cinema

New East Cinema is a bi-monthly film series curated by The New Social, presented by Calvert 22 in collaboration with the Barbican Centre, which looks across eastern Europe, the Balkans, Russia and Central Asia to uncover the most thought-provoking, daring and vibrant cinema coming from today’s “New East”.