Synopsis by Eleanor Mannikka
Like Nikola Korabov's Nikolai Ghiaurov, this biographical drama was created in celebration of Bulgaria's 1300 years of existence. Rather than focusing on the story of a known life, as in the opera star Ghiaurov's tribute, this film lauds Bulgaria's achievement in art by developing a fictitious story around the life of the unidentifiable painter "Iliya" (Peter Despotov), known to history as the Master of Boyana. In the imagination of script writers Zahari Zhandov (also the director), and historian Evgeni Konstantinov, Iliya is seen as a lowly painter, devoted to his art but not fully recognized by his contemporaries for the genius he truly is. Iliya refers to himself as the "Master of Boyana," and then is called to task for this presumptuous deception by the ruling elite of the Turnovo school of art who do not take to his interpretation of religious figures and events. Aside from the professional trials of a delicately-balanced painterly existence, Iliya has been captivated by the royal Dessislava (Boyka Velkova) and agonizes over how to gain permission to paint her portrait. Like most true artists, his life is envisioned as one of passion, both for his art and for his relationships. Bulgarian writer Stoyan Zagorchinov offered his own version of the painter in his novel Feast Day in Boyana, but his ideas were left aside by Zhandov and Konstantinov in the making of this fictional biography.
artist, love, royalty