The Tied-Up Balloon

Privarzaniyat Balon

62nd TIFF: Greek Premiere

A barrage balloon appears unexpectedly over a Bulgarian village. The startled villagers decide to knock it down with a fusillade. But the balloon flies off to the mountains. The villagers, armed to their teeth, set off after it. But they are not alone in this undertaking. There is another armed group that chases the “wonder.” Τhis shakes the imagination of the peasants and causes endless speculations, assumptions, and contentions. Almost immediately after the premiere, the film was stopped by the communist authority because of the direct display of the actual reality in the Bulgarian villages as well as for the hints about the origin of many of the communist leaders but was later recognized as one of the masterpieces of Bulgarian cinema.

Screening Schedule

No physical screenings scheduled.

Direction: Binka Zhelyazkova
Script: Yordan Radichkov
Cinematography: Emil Vagenshtain
Editing: Borislav Penev
Sound: Doncho Hinov, Dmitriy Stefanov
Music: Simeon Pironkov
Actors: Georgi Kaloyanchev, Georgi Partsalev, Grigor Vachkov, Konstantin Kotsev, Georgi Georgiev-Getz, Ivan Bratanov, Petar Slabakov
Production: Boyana Film
Production Design: Hristo Gradeschliev
Make Up: Philipia Kaminska
Format: DCP
Color: B/W
Production Country: Bulgaria
Production Year: 1967
Duration: 95'
Contact: Svetlana Ganeva

Binka Zhelyaskova

Binka Zhelyazkova was born on July 15, 1923, in the town of Svilengrad, Bulgaria. She studied theater at the National Theater Institute in Sofia. For a brief time, she also studied theater direction at VGIK, Moscow, with theater professor Lobanov. Upon graduation, she began working as an assistant director at the National Film Studio in Sofia. Her career as a film director began in 1957 when she co-directed her first feature film Life Flows Slowly By… with her husband Hristo Ganev. At the end of the 1950s, Binka Zhelyazkova was one of the few women in the world making feature films. Her career developed during the period of socialist realism in Bulgarian cinema, which demanded the presentation of an idealized image of life as if it were a reality. This was to be done by means of simple plots and positive heroes. But hers was a counter-cinema to the accepted socialist realism, often challenging the restrictive rules set by the Communist ideological machine. Binka Zhelyazkova’s style was influenced by Italian Neorealism and the French New Wave, as well as Russian Cinema. The poetic and metaphoric imagery of her films often prompted critics to compare her to Fellini and Tarkovski. During her career, she directed seven feature films and two documentaries. Four of her nine films were banned from distribution and reached audiences only after the end of communism. She was the director of the Bulgarian section of Women in Film, an organization created in 1989 after the international women in film conference, KIWI, in Tbilisi, Georgia. She stopped making films after 1989, which coincided with the fall of the communist regime in Bulgaria. For some time after that, she remained active in the women in film organization but soon completely withdrew from public life.


1957 Zivotat si teche tiho| Life Flows Slowly By...
1961 A biahme mladi | We Were Young
1967 Privarzanijat Balon | The Tied-Up Balloon
1973 Poslednata duma | The Last Word
1977 Baseinat | The Swimming Pool
1980 Goliamoto noshtno kapane | The Big Night Bathe
1982 Nani-na | Lullaby (doc)
1982 Litse i opako | The Bright and Dark Side of Things (doc)
1988 Noshtem po pokrivite | On the Roofs at Night (TV)