Life Almost Wonderful
The Liliev brothers share their surname, but that’s where any similarity ends. They don’t even share the same father. They got their name from their mother Lily, who is no longer alive. Oldest brother Alexander is a hairdresser who likes to wear makeup and compete in hairdressing contests. Middle brother Bobby has chosen to live as a monk, but he's finding it difficult to adhere to his vows. Youngest brother James is kind of macho – he might just marry his girlfriend, and he wants to be a TV star. The only person who occasionally brings them all together is their grandmother, Lily’s mother. They go with her to visit their mother’s grave. She talks about their youth, their absent mother and the hardships they all have to face. And we observe the brothers as they go about their daily lives. At first sight, their separate lives in the drab Bulgarian capital of Sofia may seem unremarkable. But as the director shows us in subtle ways, their brotherhood and their family history add luster to their tale. The camera watches like the grandmother’s eyes, calmly and with resignation. Is happiness just around the corner? One can always hope.
Svetoslav Draganov for Cineaste Maudit
Paul Pauwels for Congoo