The complexities and paradoxes of the Bulgarian film industry during the era of Communist rule (1945-1989) are explored in The Conformists: Creativity and Decadence in the Bulgarian Cinema 1945-89. This influential industry was mobilized for the needs of the state. During its creation and development, cultural institutions and those involved in film production operated within a relatively closed system, based on rewards and punishments imposed by the Communist bureaucratic apparatus. Sub-textual content in films produced in Bulgaria during this period highlights the attitude of the elite towards the regime. Understanding this multifaceted relationship helps explain why so many intellectuals found the film industry to be an attractive field in which to work, and decided to remain loyal to the regime instead of leaving or openly rebelling against it. This work challenges the historiographical perception that the arts in the Eastern Bloc during the Cold War were largely unsuccessful vehicles of propaganda and dissent. By using a comparative methodological approach, the cinema arts in the East and West are shown following similar paths despite the Iron Curtain.
About the Author: Evgenija Garbolevsky received her BA in History from Framingham State University, and her MA in Women's Studies and Comparative History, as well as her PhD, from Brandeis University (Massachusetts, USA). She was awarded an IREX Fellowship to live and research in Bulgaria in 2006-2007. She has published and presented several articles at conferences including The Conferences of Popular Culture in San Francisco (2008) and Turkey at the Crossroads: Women, Women's Studies, and the State in Istanbul and Bodrum, Turkey (2005). Dr Garbolevsky authored the book A Church Ossified? Repression and Resurgence of Bulgarian Orthodoxy, 1944-1956. Since 2005, she has taught European and World History at Framingham State University.