Damascena: The Transition (2019) - full transcript

This biographical drama follows the life of Techo - one of the biggest rose oil producers in Bulgaria nowadays and depicts the collision between his dream and the harsh political and social reality in Bulgaria during the past fifty years.

Bulgaria is known as
"The Land of Roses".

In 1945 the Communist regime
seized political power in the country

and nationalized every
private property and enterprise.

Rose oil distilling was monopolized
by the totalitarian state.

The rose became one of the symbols
of the Communist party.

Based on a true story.


July, 1969

Stop gazing at that water, Techo!

You'll go crazy!

Let's go to the deep!

Techo, come back!

Get out, Techo!

I'm coming down to rip your ears off!

All six of them!

Does it itch?

Did you enjoy the nettle?

Never jump off the cliffs!
Never ever again!

Run or I'll catch you again!

Feel the fragrance?

- Do you like it?
- Yes!

Don't rush!

We will gather for dinner later.

What do you think
you're doing, son?

You're going to break it!

These things cost lots of money!

Why don't you play it properly
so that we can enjoy the music.

Come here, Techo.

Want to learn how to dance?

Now. One - two.

Grandma, have you been
the Queen of Roses

when you were young?

Every woman is a queen
when she's young.

Later she turns into
a regular grandma.

Grandma, do ghosts
talk to people?

What ghosts?

Who tells you these fantasies?

No one needs to tell him!

His head is full of fantasies anyway!

More than he will ever need!

You're so heavy!

X Y Z...

Bravo, well done!

- Goodbye.
- Goodbye.

A really nice drawing, Techo.

Is that you?


And who's the woman
in the pretty dress?

The Queen of Roses.

When I grow up I'll build her a temple
and I'll marry her.

The river of my childhood
left me two friends

and one secret.

This secret became my dream.

I could not fulfill my dream.

I ran out of time.

May, 1978

What is the name
of the rose richest in oil?

Rose Damascena.

Do you know why?

It was brought from Damascus
in ancient times. Hence the name.

Is there something you don't know,

It takes a million roses to make
one kilogram of rose oil.

One million picks,

one million seconds are needed
to pick all those roses.

Human hands are needed here!

The Thracians were a wise people.

They started growing roses here.

Herodotus himself mentions it!

And why exactly here?

Look at the valley!

The Valley of Thracian Kings.

Guarded by mountains
on both sides,

rivers flow into it and
irrigate it.

As if the Gods themselves protect it!

The most aromatic roses...

How many trucks left?

You are wasting my time all day!

This is the last truck for today.

Yeah, really!

Give a hand to the girls!

These are picked by the students!
No need to check them!

No need? Yeah, right!

As if I don't know!
Look at this!

Too young to cheat, right?

I have found stones,
bags of water

and all kinds of stuff inside.

O tempora, o mores.

I won't waste your time,
comrade director.

I just need permission to show
the refinery to the students.

I'm waiting for a delegation
from Sofia.

The biggest rose oil buyer.

So I'm a little busy.

Here they come.

Come on, ladies.


I hope you had a pleasant trip.

Good to be here.

Such a winding road!

And we got really hungry...

A welcome fit for a tzar,
comrade Kolev!

Oh, I forgot.

We have a student brigade.

The teacher asks whether they can
see the refinery.

Excuse me?

Do you think I need some
little moles here?


What's going on here?

It does not matter whether
they are students or not ...

From now on, no outsiders!

Is that clear?

Yes! Move it, move it!

Mr. Leibnitz...

Please, do come in!

Bulgarian Rose
- the scent of communism.

Here's the new generation.

I'll be back.
I'll throw you out of here!

I'll kick out the likes of you too!

Go on.

Rose oil is "Liquid Gold", they say.

It brought millions and millions
to the state.

For me the rose oil distillery was
a temple, not a cash machine.

May, 1986

I'm sick and tired of
small time crooks.

Everyone cheats in this country.

Everyone tries to profit
at the expense of the state.

But I won't allow it!
I won't!

Hey, give me that skewer!

How are you, guys?

Fine, thank you.

- Do you want to see the refinery?
- Yes!

Follow me.

And you, go to the scales!

You are born in this valley.

Our "Liquid Gold" is world famous.
You must know how it's made.



I want you to buy them
some waffles and sweets.

They have been picking roses since five
in the morning and they deserve a treat.

Come on.

This is our new expert,
Stefan Stefanov.

To us he's Techo.
Please, sit down.

Do you feel the difference
between '83 and '84?


Something's missing here.

That's because 1984 was rainy.

This has the necessary intensity.
It's 1983.

Can you compensate technologically
for the missing intensity?

?here are some new tanks in the back...

Anyone can do it with new tanks.

Give me a new solution.

Are you Stefan Stefanov?

I am.

- Hello.
- Hello.

Let's get straight to the point.

Here's the list of all people
working at the rose oil distillery.

Lots of fezzes you've got here!

You know the new directive
about the names, right?

A week from now there
should be no Turkish names.

I grew up together with these people.
We are friends.

Hasan and Yusuf yesterday -
Ivan and Kiril tomorrow? How?

You just gave them names -
and very good ones at that.

You are their friend and
will easily convince them.

We've investigated you - that's why
we turn to you, not to the director.

Techo, who's gonna get
this job done? Who?

How do I turn Hassan into Dragan?

You know how it works.

Calmly, gently...
Some beating, if needed.

Are you Bulgarians?

Are YOU Bulgarian?

Who can we trust?

Don't you see what's going on?

They breed like rabbits.

And now what?
Kill them like rabbits?

They will kick us out!

They will establish a state
of their own in our land.

They will demand autonomy?
They'll take everything.

They'll change your name to Hasan.

They will kick you out but before that
they might even intimately ?

You will sit and watch?

Behave like a Bulgarian.
And act like a Bulgarian.

Well but?
Above all I'm a human.

Right, now we will see how
humane you are.

Keep your temper and it will be ok.

Come on!

Comrades, colleagues!

The Party council wants to help you
accomplish the Party's decree

for changing the names
of our Bulgarian Turks.

What's up, buddy?

They made you come here as well?

Get inside, it will be fine.


Let's live and work in harmony.
There should be no differences between us.

We do live and work together!
What's wrong all of a sudden?

Listen, listen...

I know it's hard.
But it's hard for all of us.

The Party council made this
decision to unite the people.

Let's look forward.

Our children will live together without
the embarrassment of their names.

We will all be one big
Bulgarian family.

Comrade ... Pretty,
enough bullshit!

Get lost, you sleazy bitch,
get lost!

Wait, wait!

Why change names? Ah? Why?

We don't want to!

I'm sorry, cousin!

Does it hurt?

- Techo?
- I'm fine.

You're not welcome
in my home anymore.

And what about Kemal?

They released him earlier.

Kemal! What have they
done to you?

I'm no longer Kemal.

My name is Kalin.

The voluntary departure must be
done in a calm and orderly manner.

What are you doing?

You will be escorted to the border.

What are you doing?

Hey! Hey!

Stop! Stop!

Stop, stop!

What are you doing, are you mad?

These people live here,
these are their homes.

How many times do I need
to tell you?

How many times?

Do not show off these trousers!

How many times do I need to tell you
not to show off these trousers!

What are you doing? Hey!

Pack your things tonight!

Are you mad?

Wait, buddy!

?must be done in a calm and
orderly manner.

Easy, Techo. Easy!

Go home before we
lock you up.

- Are you mad?
- Don't get involved!

Don't touch him!

Techo! Easy, buddy!

Just go home so we don't have to
lock you up again.

Don't get involved!

You can't do anything!

You can't do anything!

Pack your things!

... must be done
in a calm and orderly manner.

You will be escorted to the border.

The deadline is 4 pm tomorrow.

Take the scarf off.

Here are the papers
for the car.

Hundreds of thousands of Bulgarian
Turks were banished from their homes,

from their native lands.

The Rose Valley became deserted.

I hate you all!

How will I live without you?

Don't build houses
on high hills.

Don't give away brides
in far away lands.

Let the birds know
I miss my mother.

Dear motherland,

you are heaven on earth,

your vigor, your beauty...


This year we will buy no roses
and produce no oil at all.

Things are different now.

After the changes... the
Western buyers are cautious.

So ... we're closing.


Not just this distillery.

All distilleries.

And we'll see who
will survive.

So why did you call for me?

To find out what you
gonna do next.

You haven't changed much since
high school.

You thought I didn't
recognize you?

Well done, you kept your promise.
You're back.

Only you haven't
kicked us out yet.

Will you sell me the tanks
rusting in the back yard?

- What? They're brand new!
- They used to be brand new!

Even if you get the tanks,
you have no roses.

I hold all the contracts
with the buyers ...

The lab is mine ...

I thought it was owned by the state...

But you still need me
to sell even a drop of rose oil.

Sell him the tanks.

What about me?

Boss, we are off.

Wait a sec!

Treat yourself to a drink
for the good work.

Thanks, see you tomorrow.

I thought you'd never come.

You can use an extra hand.

- How are things at home?
- Well...

Your brother's drinking
will get him fired.

I don't know what to do
with him.

Do you think I should hire him?

First Private Rose Oil Distillery

Your brother won't say no but...

I will give it a try.

Tell Kiril he's welcome.

I will.

Come here!

No way you'll be hiding
the money from me!

Where's the money?


Hey, come here!

I'll kick your asses!

- Who are you?
- Gyula. (Rose)

Now my name is Detelina.

- And who are these two?
- My brothers.

If they try to beat you again,
call me.

You call this a beating?

And learn how to read.

First Private Rose Oil
Distillery Damascena.

What's damascena?

A rose, like you.

Did you name it after me?

A Bulgarian rose from me,

to remind you...

Was about time!

- Am I that late?
- More than I expected.

Sit down!

Put it down!

To Mr. Leibnitz,
CEO for Eastern Europe etc.

Dear and so on?

within 3 months we will present
a detailed business plan

for the capacity of the first
private rose oil distillery in Bulgaria,

which is my property
and will be run by me.

The investigations by Bulgarian
authorities have proven

that the documents and pictures
you have received

from Stefan Stefanov regarding
an existing private rose oil distillery

are fraudulent.


- Got it?
- Yes.

All necessary measures
will be taken

in order to cut out
any speculations whatsoever.

In expectation of our future
work together,

in your capacity of our biggest client,

we, as the first private oil
distillers in Bulgaria,

truly yours, bla bla bla...

Send it to the translator and
make sure he does it quickly.

10,000 dollars.

Now, how can I help you?


I came to ask you to be
my kid's godfather.


There's a famous
German philosopher...

You don't know him,
his name is Friedrich Nietzsche.

He says...

It means:

"What is will never be,

what will be has never been."

Are you done?

I accept!

This is for you, then.


It's not 10,000 dollars, but...

I'll call you with the details.

We made it.

Prepare the purchase contract
for the rose oil distillery.

Let us pray to God!

Do you renounce Satan?

I do.

Do you renounce Satan?

I do.

Do you renounce Satan?

I do.

Hey boss,

when did you become
a Christian?

Faith is the only savior of the soul.

Sinful are the children of God.

But God is merciful and patient.

I don't understand God's way.

-Call me to bless the rose oil distillery!
- No need for that!

You shouldn't bypass me
by writing to the Germans.

You can't skip me
in the rose oil business.

I had to try.

You're crazy!

I know that.

Do I tell you you're crazy?

Yesterday you were
a zealous communist.

Today you're an avid democrat
and pious Christian.

My ex boss has become a priest.

Don't tell me miracles don't exist!

What are you building
by the river?

A Temple of the Rose - a part
of the complex I'm planning.

Little by little it will be ready.

There's no end to your
wacky ideas!

It's not a wacky idea,
it's a dream.

Alright. I'll leave you the temple.

You are convinced that I'm crazy,
so I really need tell you.

I'll burn down the distillery
rather than give it to you.

Are you nuts?

Crazy, naive?

I don't get you at all!

If it wasn't for me, no one
would've given you a penny.

No one!

The distillery is mine!
Is that clear?

Who do you think you are?

Oh, Lord, hear my prayer.

This rose oil distillery,
Farmarose is blessed

in the name of the Father, and of the Son
and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Mr. Kolev, just a moment!

How long did it take you to build the
first private distillery in Bulgaria?

Long enough so I can now turn back
and proudly say that it was worth it.

- Mr. Kolev?
- Later.

Is everything OK with the money?

I haven't count it.

Techo, there is place
for everyone under the sun.

Please tell me how I can help you.

I need twice as much as you paid me.

As a loan.

When do you need it?


You'll have it tonight.

We, the first private rose oil producers,
did it.

We did it.

What's up, bro?

I'm going back to the city,
there's nothing for me here.


I know you've got 7 kilos
of my rose oil in the trunk.

You have a choice.

You can either give me back my oil
and we go on together.

Or you can go to the city

and we forget we're brothers.

You know what...

Is she worth it?

She will bring you money.

What's going on?

We fixed Gyula.
We'll get some cash.

Is this the life you want?

You call this a life?

Cousin ...

This girl is coming with me.

Get up!

Don't worry,
the baby's asleep in the back.

The baby peed on the dollars.

I hope it's a lucky charm.

Where are we going?

I don't know.

Today the national currency continued
its severe devaluation.

One US dollar traded for 2100 levs
on the interbank market.

The cash markets followed
a different logic.

The USD interbank trade started at
BGL 1500 -1650,

but by noon the exchange rate
was up by BGL 500,

and the ask spread hit
BGL 2150 at noon.

Then the rate decreased and
a balance was reached

at a bid spread of BGL 1800
and an ask spread of BGL 2100.

It is paradox that an ask spread
is significantly below the bit spread.

Trading was strained.

USD 6.6 million were bought
and almost USD 5 million were sold.

The volumes are below the ones
common for the past days.

I do not expect that from you.

The national currency again lost
more than 20% of its value in just a day.

Since the start of the year,
the dollar

has tripled its value against
Bulgarian lev.

The USD appreciated
with nearly 200 BGL today.

Are you ok?

The posters read: "Pensions - 5 dollars,
sausage - 2 dollars"

The protesters shouted against

a new socialist government
and in favor of early elections.

Elections! Elections!

Take some money from the sack and
go buy something for yourself.

What something?

Clothes, shoes,
whatever you need.

And get disposable diapers
for the baby.

Tell them the baby's age.

Seven months.

Do you want anything?


You're staying here.

First Private Bank

Give our money back

Hey, where are you going?

The line's back there!

Hey, wise ass,
take you place at the back!

Where you going with the sacks,
get back!

Go inside and tell your boss that
Techo is waiting for him outside.

Can you please go to the
end of the line?

I've been freezing here all day for
20 dollars and now that guy ...

Easy, there are dollars
for everyone.

What are you doing here, Techo?

The privileged ones will never end...

Keep calm.

It's a madhouse,
the dollar has gone through the roof!

Yes, indeed.

This isn't inflation,
it's an outright catastrophe.

The dollar reached
BGL 3000 in a day.

And what?

Everybody's gone nuts,
trading their last penny.

I know it.

I can see it from the hotel
over there.

But I tell you, the dollar
will fall in 3 days.

It can't happen.
It'll take at least a month.

I bet my beard on it.

And I bet my hair.

You want these dollars?

You're killing yourself, bro.

Do you want them,
or should I go to your neighbors!

Did you piss on it?

Just take them.

Money doesn't smell,
that's what people say.

Plank, come here!

Handsome, though.

Here are the levs.
Where are my dollars?

Give him the dollars.

Hey, Plank.

You gonna stick around here?

Come with me.

Get off, please.

You'll live here.

My friends will help you -
with the kid, with the school.

If things turn out well,
you might come to work for me.

But for now,
this is the right way.

Get off, please.

I'll never fancy another man, Techo.

I only have eyes for you.

May you have women,
but be deprived of love.

I kept building the temple
of the rose by the river

near the place where
it all started.

Dreams are always
greater than prayers.

It's very hard to deceive
a dreamer.

A lie may slow him down
but will never stop him.

How do you manage to spend
so much money in no time?

Last month I gave you 100 000 dollars.

You not only spent all the money
from the rose oil distillery,

but you are trying to kill yourself
with new loans every month.

I pay you back, don't I?
Along with the monstrous interest.

You see...

The temple of the rose requires
a lot of money.

Be careful, Techo!

My head flies off if you ...

I'll need some extra help.

Shave my beard!

Son, I've been watching you
for years.

The freedom you search for
does not exist.

It's an illusion...

It's a prison...

A prison!

To be free means to
choose your own prison.

You're greedy.

A man shouldn't be greedy.




Everyone has his own limits.

Limits for all three of these.

If a man goes over his limits,

they crush him

and that's all.

He's finished.

You were such a wild kid!

Look at you now.

So many people
depend on you.

Techo, you promised me!

You promised me!


You promised me!

Roses will blossom -
with or without us.

with us is preferable.

I'm leaving you too soon,
my son.

Too soon...

Yes, you left me too soon.

We had so much to do together.

Too soon!

All left me!

Fate left me too!

Where are your workers,

They're packing and leaving.

Oranges, olives, dishes -
whatever pays.

Germany, Spain...

Who knows where.

Where is that Terminal 2 that swallows
our children like a dragon.

Tell them not to leave.

What for?

Let them know that from now on
I will double their pay!

Don't do that!
We'll lose everything.

You'll fuck up the others, too.
They'll kill us!

What if the buyers

That's a fucking suicide!

First time ever, right?

Emigration -
the modern slavery.

A subtle slavery that allows for
the illusion of freedom.

2.5 million Bulgarians
have left the country.

Not a single war
has caused so much damage.

I thought you'd never come.

You can use an extra hand.

I can't buy your oil, Techo.
These are hard times.

Everyone produces,
but there are no buyers, no markets.

Turkey is crushing us.





That's it, we're done.

Now Bulgaria is missing
from the rose oil map.

So what do we do?

Nothing but pray.

- You're praying?
- Yes.

Leave that to the priests.

Turkey you say.


Here's some water.

That's for you.

Hey girl.


Just tell me who did it.

Tell me who did it.

Are you the big boss here,

Fuck you!

Are you...

I'll kill you!

An old acquaintance.

That was a good beating.

He's alive.

Hey Scarface,
do you hear me, scum?

Do you get what I'm saying?
Did they beat you up?

I fell from my horse!

Did Techo beat you up?
Tell me!

Tell me!

I haven't seen him.
I fell from my horse.

A wild horse, maybe?

You should have killed
the scum, cousin.

You should.

He's one of yours.

He pays you, not me.

Don't be like that.

He pays you to protect
him when he steals,

beats people,
rapes his daughter.

What about his daughter?

The scum raped his daughter.

Fucking life.

Fucking country.

Fucking scum.

How long?

I've served scums
my whole life.


I served scums before,
I serve them now.

Stay away!

- Wait, cousin!
- Stay away!

Get lost!

For how long?!


I can't take it anymore.

For how long?!

Tell me!

Why the fuck?!


Hasan Bey,

Bulgaria and Turkey are the largest
rose oil producers in the world.

We were a leader until recently.

The markets were yours,
but now they're ours.

It isn't our fault that your country
has problems.

We're making large investments in
rose plantations.

We have a good product.

Western companies came with
their investments.

Leave us this much. 20%.

Give us some room to breathe.

There's terrible corruption
in Bulgaria.

The Communist elite
switched sides.

Now they are the rich ones
who rip off the society.

Other nouveau riche come from
the criminal underground.

We look after our business,
you better fix your country.

I can see you know very well
the problems in Bulgaria.

With all due respect, Hasan Bey,
my forecast is that in 7-8 years

you will have problems similar to ours.

The wheel spins.
Things may turn around.

I don't see how.

I will turn them around.

Only time will show.

May Allah be with you.

Cousin, stop the car.
Stop the car.

Take me back to the clinic.

Take me back.

Hey cousin,

I'll come to see you often.

Don't worry about me.

You're not a free man, cousin.

I'm the free one among us.

I started drinking.

I really hit the bottom.

I gave up.

Did you forget me?

I didn't forget you.

I renounced you.

Why did you stop dreaming?

Because I became a slave.

A slave of the state,

to the banks,

to the mafia, to their money,

to my women, to my children.

A slave to everything
and everyone!

It's a voluntary prison.

And you leave it
voluntarily too!

Good morning!

Techo, I've known you for ages.
Why didn't you call me earlier?

You sound like an
abandoned lover.

You don't understand, do you?
You were dead.

I've been drinking
for three weeks.

You would be dead
on the third day.

You really don't get it.

Your condition is really serious.
Some tests must be made.

You've had symptoms
long before, haven't you?


I have symptoms
as many as you like.

I'll be going.

Well, how do you want me to say it -
delicately or outright?

Delicately speaking, there is
a tumor somewhere inside you.

In the head?

In the head.


How much time do I have?

Plenty of time if I cut it out.
Prepare yourself for surgery.


And what if you don't
cut it out?

It will continue to grow and
depending on how aggressive it is

it could be months, weeks,



I see, you're afraid.

You don't get it at all.

No, it's normal.
We're all afraid.

But you're lucky because
I am a really good surgeon.

I am calling the team.

You really don't get it.

No, I don't.

If you have to do
something important

and you can postpone it for
tomorrow, will you do it today?

What if you have no tomorrow?

That thing in my head will remind
me that I have no tomorrow.

I don't get it.

Where is the nurse?

What nurse?

I've run out of time.

The dream stayed with me.

The tumor in my head is
not a verdict but a gift.

A gift to make me realize that
I have no tomorrow

and that my past is gone, too.

They exist only in my thoughts.
Now I know how to deceive time.

I've learned to live now,
in the very moment.

To be today is my tomorrow.


- Hello, Stefan Bey.
- Hasan Bey.

That's my son.

I underestimated your words,
Stefan Bey.

That's in the past.

Now we need to work together to
retain and expand our global markets.

And by saying "our markets"
I mean ours and yours.

That's the responsibility
that we have to deal with.

So the war between us is over,
do I get it right?

There has been no war.

It was just a misunderstanding that
we don't have similar problems.

The people are most important,
Hasan Bey, the people.

This is Gyula.

She'll be in charge of our
joint operations.

Thank you, Stefan Bey.

Let me show you
the rose oil distillery.

Techo, aren't you aiming too high,
my boy?

You bought the house of the biggest
rose oil producer of the 20th century.

You must be dreaming.

I've been a dreamer all my life.

Back to business.

I have a very big request from
an Asian buyer.

I could manage the first year
of the contract alone.

Now I will need your help?
and your rose oil.

Just a moment!

You are skipping me,
Techo, and that's no good.

You forget something important.

I mix the oils and
I do the trading.

We have been making rose oil
for 25 years.

We have been giving it to you and
have been waiting for your schemes,

your filthy games with quantities,
commissions and buyers.

I got a letter from
all the major buyers.

They officially declare their will
to work with me directly.

Who will guarantee the quality?

Who will sign the certificates?

The first independent lab is ready.
It is fully licensed.

You can find all the details
in this document.

We're ready to certify and guarantee
the quality of every producer's rose oil.

We are ready to start right away.

Thank you, Gyula.

Now you have a choice.

We can do this properly.

We can produce and sell rose oil together.
I emphasize together.

We can just as well
continue working with Mr. Kolev.

My promise is to sell
your oil first?

One moment!

? commission free.

I will sell mine last.

The prices I will fight for will
ensure the development of our business.

The rest is up to you.

I'm with you, my friend.

I say yes!

- Me too!
- Me too.

Me too.

Techo, you have a yes from me.


Me too.

They call Bulgaria "The Land of Roses".

In 2008 Bulgaria regained its leading
position in the rose oil market

due to the efforts
of all private producers.

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