DIRECTED BY: El Vulgario (Yavor Batchev)
FEATURING: Will, Chetan, Sienna, Sanjita, Anuj, Chintu
PLOT: The life story of Ivan, a Bulgarian refugee who arrives in America in the early ’70’s and begins the immigrant’s journey towards The American Dream, which in his case involves being anointed by the God of Shit to start The Temple of Holy Shit and spread the Word. Bestowed with supernatural powers, he performs miracles, advises government figures and amasses a following—until he is kidnapped by KGB agents and shipped to the USSR to use his powers for their benefit.
COMMENTS: As Steve Martin once said, “Comedy is not pretty”. That saying applies equally to satire, especially when the satire is as sledgehammer blunt as it is in The Bulgarian Prophet. The movie is set in the America of the early 70’s, long after the Summer of Love has peaked and degenerated, after the Summer of Manson had finished it off. Vietnam is in full swing, Nixon is in office, and the time is right for all sorts of strangeness to take root. Enter the ‘hero,’ Ivan, escaping the Communist regime in his native Bulgaria to make a new start in America, where any man can pursue his heart’s desire—as long as that desire involves insanely huge amounts of cash and loose women with insanely large breasts.
There should be a lot of things working against this, from the animation style (courtesy of 3Danimationindia.com), to the occasional stiff line readings, but oddly, they complement the broad satire. In fact, if this were done as a live-action no-budget indie, it would come off as half-assed and worse than amateurish. Animation, even crude animation, allows for the full expression of Batchev’s ideas, unfettered by budgetary constraints and laws of physics (such as when Ivan walks across a swimming pool full of sewage in front of the media as a demonstration of his newfound divinity.) And in comedy, all that matters is that you get the laugh—and The Bulgarian Prophet does get them. After all, finesse is for critics to argue about.
Normally, you’d probably would have to look for this at underground film festivals, since the style and tone is way too blunt for mainstream film and animation festivals to screen. Your best bet to see this is to check for it on YouTube, or visit The Bulgarian Prophet official website.