Facets Cinémathèque

Archives +

May 13–19, 2016

Chicago Premiere


Buy tickets
Film still: Viktoria Film still: Viktoria Film still: Viktoria


Grand Jury Prize
Sundance Film Fest
"A strikingly assured and ambitious feature debut"
"An impressive display of stylistic control and directorial vision"
  —Village Voice
"It's one of the great recent films by a woman about women, and it casts [filmmaker Maya] Vitkova to the forefront of contemporary filmmakers
  —New Yorker
"Political and psychological, Vitkova renders this highly personal story with great pathos that showcases her truly inventive sense of humor"
"Few filmmakers have so imaginatively mined the cliché of the overlap between personal and political"
  —Filmmaker Magazine
Recommended "Poker-faced realism is the film's currency, yet a lyrical urge and surrealist heartbeat announce themselves at gratifyingly steady intervals"
  —NewCity Chicago

Maya Vitkova's stunning debut feature Viktoria, follows three generations of women in the final years of the People's Republic of Bulgaria and the early years of the transition to democracy. The film focuses on reluctant mother Boryana, who longs to flee to the West, and her daughter, Viktoria, who is miraculously born without a belly button. Though unwanted by her mother, Viktoria is named the country's Socialist Baby of the Decade, and they are showered with gifts including an apartment, a red telephone with a direct line to the president, as well as motorcade limo service to school. Viktoria is immediately exalted by the Communist Party and becomes a privileged brat whose every immature utterance is celebrated as gospel by party leaders. However, when the Communist regime collapses in 1989, Viktoria's life is turned upside down and the hardships of the new era bind her and her mother together.

Maya Vitkova wrote, produced and directed Viktoria, making it both personal and universal, demonstrating a precocious command of a range of shifting tones, from absurdist humor to political allegory to deeply moving familial drama. Poignant archival footage weaves a structure that gives her semi-autobiographical film a cohesive historical context, showing us a world of political and personal revolution while offering a unique perspective on the communist chimera.

Directed by Maya Vitkova, 2014, Bulgaria/Romania, 155 mins. In Bulgarian with English subtitles.


  • Fri., May 13 at 7 pm
  • Sat., May 14 at 7 pm
  • Sun., May 15 at 5:30 pm
  • Mon.–Thurs., May 16–19 at 7 pm
Buy tickets


$10 general admission

$5 for Facets Members

The Facets Cinémathèque is located at 1517 W. Fullerton Ave. in Chicago. Call the Cinémathèque Hotline at 773.281.4114 for the latest schedule, showtimes and updates.

For all Cinémathèque inquiries, contact Charles Coleman at 773.281.9075 or

  • John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
  • Artworks: National Endowment for the Arts
  • Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences
  • Comer Family Foundation
  • Bloomberg Philanthropies
  • Alphawood Foundation
  • Polk Bros. Foundation