The Good Postman

Flight and fight – a portrait of the Bulgarian border town on the edge of crisis

Film Review by Phil Kennedy | 03 Mar 2017
  • The Good Postman
Film title: The Good Postman
Director: Tonislav Hristov

Elections in Great Dervent are fought on a single issue: self-preservation. Ageing, depopulated and culturally catatonic, the town on the Bulgaria-Turkey border is dying. But Ivan, the local postman, has a radical idea: rehouse the Syrian refugees that pass through on their way to Sofia and revive Great Dervent in the process.

The Good Postman follows Ivan on the scant campaign trail that joins Great Dervent’s few remaining homesteads together. It presents a sympathetic portrait of town life, capturing the place with a sense of pastoral beauty gone to seed and showing its inhabitants to be crestfallen at their historical lot, but open to frank discussions about their aspirations in tumultuous times.

These sections are where the film makes its skillful transition from slice of life observation to broader political analysis. The villagers’ debates about the refugees on their doorstep echo in miniature Europe’s ongoing oscillations on the subject, and there’s a creeping sense that Great Dervent is only the thin end of the wedge in a much larger humanitarian crisis.

The town’s political wranglings may be a storm in a teacup, but The Good Postman makes it clear that the ripples travel far and wide.

The Good Postman screened at Glasgow Film Festival

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