Skip to main content

OF MEN AND BEARS

Bulgaria / France, 1996 (MIFF 1997, Documentaries)

Director: Eldora Traykova

A bear-ward is a kind of busker. In Bulgaria some itinerant folk still make a living from owning and exhibiting performing bears. They frequent the tourist spots with an accordion, vio­lin or rebeck, and a towering bear on a chain. The bear dances to a tune or does impersonations on cue ('Show us a German lady on the beach!'). The bear also represents good health and the wards encourage passers-by to touch the bear for a long life and put a few coins in a cup.

Eidora Traykova's film introduces us to a number of bears and their owners. For these people the bears are both their livelihood and members of the family; they respond to charges of cruelty, and reflect on the hazards and plea­sures of their trade. Of Men and Bears is an unsentimental portrait of a rare tradition and its relationship to Bulgaria's troubled economy.

See also...

ANYTHING BOYS CAN DO

Ethan Minsker's documentary investigates the ideas, attitudes and goals of women in the New York underground music scene. 15 bands, mostly unsigned acts with colourful names like Tribe 8, Vitapup and ... More »

PUNCH ME IN THE STOMACH

New Zealand-born comedian Deb Filler's one-woman show, Punch Me In the Stomach, has now been adapted for the cinema. A very funny roller coaster ride through her story of growing up Jewish in New ... More »

HIDE AND SEEK

This beautifully crafted short feature, examin­ing adolescent lesbian identity in the 1960s, is an absolute gem. Director Su Friedrich approaches her subject from a number of differ­ent ... More »

TIMOTHY LEARY'S DEAD

Timothy Leary, who Richard Nixon called "the most dangerous man alive", makes a great subiect for a documentary. Paul David's remark­able and wildly entertaining look at the originator of the ... More »

The Wild Bunch: An Album in Montage

This astounding documentary takes us to the high desert country of Mexico, where Sam Peckinpah shot his classic 1969 Western, The Wild Bunch. Archival clips alternate with excerpts from the film ... More »

A BIT OF SCARLET

A Bit of Scarlet is an imaginatively constructed, painstakingly assembled and highly amus­ing montage of gay-themed cliches and stereo­types from 60-odd years of British cinema. Director ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director