LEJDI ZI / LADY
Caligari: 10.04. / 3.30 pm
12-year-old Zlatina has lived since birth in a Bulgarian orphanage. She has a secret admirer in her fellow resident Lechko, who is one year younger and follows her about from dawn to dusk. After an attempted rape by a group of boys, Zlatina seeks help from the director of the home. He takes advantage of the situation and sexually abuses her. The traumatized girl then begins to disguise her attractiveness any way she can: She hides her hair under caps, wears baggy pullovers, and refuses to wear a dress – convinced that a woman wearing a dress is automatically viewed as a prostitute. Some years later the professional marksman Neyden spots Zlatina’s talent as a shooter and takes her away with him. Lechko follows his loved one’s subsequent career, and sees the way Neyden and the innocent-looking Zlatina rig competitions in order to cheat clueless amateurs. Although Zlatina has fallen for Neyden, who is not only older but married too, she robs him and runs away with Lechko. To get hold of more cash, she forges a plan whereby Lechko pretends to sell her to a pimp in return for a large sum. The plan misfires, and Zlatina finds herself in a brothel in Greece after being raped and mistreated. Lechko is determined to liberate Zlatina, and enlists Neyden’s help. Without a trace of false sentimentality LEJDI ZI tells the story a young woman’s seemingly hopeless attempt to maintain control over a life dominated by suffering and lies. Director Djulgerov cast lay actors from Bulgarian orphanages in several roles, including those of Zlatina and Lechko.