The Lesson

Kristina Grozeva, Petar Valchanov

Bulgaria, Greece, 2014 / 105 min / Bulgarian with english subt. / Drama

In the presence of Margita Gosheva (Actress), Ivan Barnev (Actor) and Ivan Savov (Actor).

The consequences of the financial crisis on an honest woman who will do anything to protect her family. 

Nadezhda is an English teacher. Stunned by a theft report by one of her students she decides to find the culprit and punish him. At the same time, her personal life changes drastically. She is notified that the bank is about to seize her house and put it on auction due to overdue mortgage payments. Determined to keep her house she will do everything she can to get the money before it’s too late.

The first part of a trilogy on “the quiet rebellion of the ordinary citizen against our unscrupulous and cynical world”. 

Sat 28/02 18:30 Cinémathèque Public
Sun 01/03 19:00 Ciné Utopia Public

A mercilessly protracted sequence that begins with Nadezhda’s car breaking down, and continues with the schoolteacher’s frantic rush to make a bank payment, is much more suspenseful than most setpieces in glossy high-end thrillers. (Joe Leydon, Variety September 28, 2014)

The nearest equivalent we can think of for Nade’s journey is that of the Marion Cotillard character in the Dardenne Brothers’ Cannes favorite “Two Days One Night.” Both films feature women who have to embark on an odyssey of self-abasement, pride-swallowing and all-out grovelling in order to keep the wolf of poverty and total social marginalization from the door. But if anything, this Bulgarian film goes further than the Belgian, turning the screws even a few more times and ending on a far more ambivalent note. (Jessica Kiang, The Playlist, October 27, 2014)

Employing a cool, clean, and precise storytelling style, Grozeva and Valchanov maintain a seemingly dispassionate air in the face of their heroine's escalating desperation, a distance that only increases their story's emotional impact. The Lesson offers a tough, unsentimental education in the limits of honesty when confronted with brutal economic reality. (Dimitri Eipides, TIFF 2014)

  • New Directors' Award - San Sebastian Film Festival 2014, Spain
  • 1-2 Competition Award - Warsaw Film Festival 2014, Poland
  • Award for Best Film - La Orquidea International Film Festival 2014, Equador
  • Special Jury Prize "Bronze Alexander” & Best Screenplay award - Thessaloniki International Film Festival 2014 Greece
  • The Golden Rose Bulgarian Film Festival 2014 - The City of Varna Special Award and the Critics Guild Award, Bulgaria
  • Special Jury Prize - Tokyo International Film Festival 2014, Japan
  • FIPRESCI Prize - Molodist International Film Festival 2014, Ukraine
Cast & Credits
Margita Gosheva, Ivan Barnev, Ivan Savov, Ivanka Bratoeva
Kristina Grozeva, Petar Valchanov
Krum Rodriguez
Petar Valchanov
Vanina Geleva
Abraxas Film, Graal Film, Little Wing

Kristina Grozeva, born in Sofia, Bulgaria, graduated in Journalism from the University of Sofia in 2000 and in Film and TV Directing from NATFA (Bulgaria) in 2005.

Petar Valchanov graduated in Film and TV Directing from the NATFA in 2008. Together they co-directed the documentary “Parable of Life” and the short film “Jump” which was awarded a nomination for the European Film Awards 2013 at Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival 2013. “The Lesson” marks their fiction feature debut.


Petar Valchanov a suivi le même enseignement au NATFA. Ensemble, ils ont tourné le documentaire « Parable of Life » et le court métrage « Jump » qui a été récompensé au Festival du court métrage de Clermont-Ferrand par une nomination aux Prix du cinéma européen. « The Lesson » est leur premier long métrage de fiction.

  • The Lesson, 2014
  • Jump (short), 2012
  • A Parable of Life (documentary), 2010