EN -  The Liliev brothers share a surname but don’t seem to have anything else in common, not even a father. They got the name from their mother Lily, who is no longer alive. The eldest brother, Alexander, is a hairdresser who likes wearing make-up and taking part in hairdressing contests. The middle brother, Bozhidar, has chosen to live as a monk but finds it difficult to keep to his vows. The youngest, James, is a macho type of guy who wants to be a TV star and is planning to marry his girlfriend. Happiness for them all may still be out of reach but no more than a hope away…

It’s been five years since their mother passed away and the last remaining family bond they share is an estranged grandmother, their mom’s mom, who they barely know. In an emotional revelation she talks about the men’s youth, her always absent daughter and the hardships they all have been through and continue to face. Alexander, Bozhidar and James try to find their place in the world and despite choosing different paths to go along, surprising as it may seem, manage to stick together. The world might sometimes be cruel to them but they consider life wonderful. Happiness is still out of reach but not more than a hope away…

NL - Life Almost Wonderful volgt de lotgevallen van drie broers uit een disfunctionele familie. Reeds in 2002 draaide de regisseur een documentaire over deze familie, in een periode dat Bulgarije hoopte op beterschap na het verdwijnen van het communistische regime. 10 jaar later is deze beterschap er niet gekomen en is integendeel de familie kleiner geworden. De moeder is overleden, net als een stiefzoon en twee zussen zijn van de familie vervreemd. In de nieuwe film volgen we drie broers die ondanks het feit dat de wereld hen niet direct zacht behandelt toch blijven geloven in het geluk. Op de voorgrond staat de meest exentrieke van de drie: Alexander.


Title Life Almost Wonderful
Original title Life Almost Wonderful
Original language Bulgarian
Status Completed
Production Minority Flemish
Category Docs
Genre human interest
Year 2013
World première / first public presentation 2013-11-22


Photography Veselin Hristov
Editing Zornica Blyangova
Sound Ivan Andreev
Music Boris Changarov

Technical specs

Running time film 85'
Release format DCP
Other available formats Beta Digit
Aspect ratio 1:1.66
Sound format Stereo
Colour Colour
Available in 2D


Main producer Svetoslav Draganov
Main production company Cineaste Maudit
Supported by the Bulgarian National Film Centre, Media programme, the Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF) in association with Bulgarian National Television and Yle


2014: Regional competition - ZagrebDox (HR), Documentary Competition - Sofia Film Fest (BG), Fresh Danube Films Section - Cinema City/Novi Sad (RS), Main Competition - International Documentary Film Festival Flahertiana (RU), Main Programme - Vilnius Documentary Film Festival (LT), Cine Doc Tbilisi (GE), Bul Doc Festival (DE), Cottbus Film Festival (DE), Main Competition - Budapest International Documentary Festival (HU)

2013: Competition for Feature-Length Documentary - International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam/IDFA (NL), Golden Rhyton Bulgarian Non-Fiction Fest (BG)


2014: Special mention - ZagrebDox (HR), Special mention - Sofia Film Fest (BG)

2013: Critics’ Award - Golden Rhyton Bulgarian Non-Fiction Fest (BG)

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Last edited on 28 July 2015

Short info

Director Svetoslav Draganov
Producers Paul Pauwels
Writers Svetoslav Draganov

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