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The Eighth

Zako Heskija
Bulgaria 1969 / 107’
Eastern Bloc Hits

One of three Bulgarian Red Westerns of the 1960s ordered by authorities to familiarize a broader and younger audience with anti-fascism through a close-up of post-WWII Bulgaria and its partisan heroes.

The Eighth is a Bulgarian adventure drama, based on the true story of a partisan unit’s formation and its heroic operations. A group of anti-fascists return to Bulgaria, parachuting from a Soviet aircraft. Number eight in the drop lands in the middle of a village, shoots his way out, escapes a series of ambushes and finally joins his buddies. Together with his contact, Vena, he goes to meet a secret connection. The police are waiting for him at the rendezvous, but he slyly pretends to be a plainclothes cop and ‘arrests’ his suspicious companion. A partisan unit soon starts operations in the area, with The Eighth as its commander. The enemy surrounds the partisans, but The Eighth leads them out. The charm of Georgi Georgiev, one of the most successful Bulgarian actors, contributes much the success of this Bulgarian Red Western.

Bojidar Manov / Rotterdam IFF

Zako Heskija

Born in 1922, Turkey, died in 2006, Bulgaria. As a Bulgarian film and TV director, Heskiya came to international attention with his film Torrid Noon (1966). It was the first Bulgarian submission to Cannes, and received a Golden Palm nomination. He went on to win the special prize of the Moscow International Film Festival for Yo Ho Ho (1981).

Selected filmography

1966 Gorechto pladne / Torrid Noon

1969 Ósmy / Osmiyat / The Eighth

1974 Zarevo nad Drava / Dawn Over the Drava

1979 Sami sred valtzi / Alone Among Wolves (TV)

1981 Yo Ho Ho

1989 Bez zadraśnięcia / Bez draskotina / Scar-Free

Cast & Crew

director Zako Heskija
screenplay Petar Hristov-Vedrin, Todor Monov, based on a novel by Stoyu Nedelchev-Chochoolu
cinematography Georgi Georgiev
editing Ventzeslava Karanesheva, Nadezhda Stancheva
music Milcho Leviev
cast Georgi Georgiev, Nikola Anastasov, Meglena Karalambova, Stoycho Mazgalov
producer Hristo Karaneshev
production Boyana Film, Bulgarian Cinematographie
sales EA NFC – Bulgarian National Film Center
source of print Filmoteka Narodowa
language Bulgarian
colouration colour