H.Award-winning Bulgarian documentary filmmaker Andrei Paunov, from the stage play by Bulgarian writer Jordan Radichkov, has adapted the British collaborative Alongside writer Alex Barrett, he makes his feature debut in fiction with this adaptation. Two middle-aged men shiver in a remote, snow-covered hut on the edge of a dark forest filled with wolves. They are a porter (Samuel Finzi) and an old man (Iosif Sulchadiev), and are they… what? forest ranger? An employee of a scientific research station? The third resident, Petar, went first into town with his horse, sleigh, and rifle.
While Petar is away, a wickedly menacing man (Zachary Baharov) shows up with another man whose face is covered by a scarf and calls for help with the damaged snowplow. An aggressive priest (Leonid Yovchev) also arrives, wanting to know where Petar is. But then Petar’s horse returned. Petar is missing and there is a frozen wolf behind the sleigh. One by one, visitors insist on taking horses and sleighs through the woods to town, and each time, the horses quietly clip-crop back.
This strange little parable looks like a Pinter in Central Europe, or a sketch of an Eastern European psyche paralyzed by the specter of Soviet communism. A strange left turn is required. why? Do not know. It’s not a particularly successful idea, and indeed detracts from the distinctive identity of the rest of the film.