28 April 2019
An honourable guest of the 15th
Kazan Muslim Film Festival, a Bulgarian director, cameraman, scriptwriter and producer Radoslav Spassov presented his film ‘Singing Shoes’ in Kazan. The film is dedicated to a famous Bulgarian jazz singer Lea Ivanova and her husband, a composer and pianist Eduard Kazasyan. The scenario is based on real events. After the death of his wife and the discovery of the archives of the Bulgarian KGB, the composer found out that his wife had been working for the intelligence services for many years: their wedding and even the orchestra’s international tours were organized as special missions.
Radoslav Spassov was touched by the story of Eduard Kazasyan: ‘When he returned from the State Archives with this shocking news, he was literally crying, he was repeating that he had a fake life, which was a political game. I decided to make a film about a man, who realizes that his life was not at all the way he imagined it’, commented the director.
He said that before his death the composer left him his documents as well as the diaries of Lea Ivanova: ‘I read and thought about what had been bothering him. Maybe, it was the fact that Lea married him because it was a state order. Edward believed that I could make a true picture of their life, it was important for me’, shared his memories the director, mentioning that the overall work on the film took 8 years.
‘I am interested in the issue of personality in critical situations, in a difficult political era. All my films are one way or another devoted to the disclosure of this topic, emphasized the director.
Lea Ivanova was born in Bulgaria, but she spent her childhood in Istanbul, where she sang in a church choir. She was fluent in several European languages. According to the filmmakers, this fact was vital for her recruitment by state security agencies. Before World War II, Lea Ivanova returned to Sofia, where she sang in jazz bands. Later, she was sent to a labour camp for ‘decadent’ music. Afterwards, she was able to recover her jazz career.
‘She was beautiful. When she arrived to Sofia, she put castanets on the heels of her shoes, so they became ‘musical’ shoes, this is why this film has this name. The times were difficult: on the one hand, there is Bulgarian KGB, and on the other hand, there are victims of this regime. We consider her as a victim in the film as well’, concluded Radoslav Spassov.
The film was awarded a Special Prize of the Moscow International Film Festival in 2016. Today, the film was first screened in Kazan.