40 days
Bulgaria, Italy, 2020

Production : Zlatolin Donchev
French, English
Tënk Award - Festival dei Popoli 2020

Films from Dei Popoli Festivals Essays Portraits


Behind the windshield of a small car, in a cabin full of objects, Massimiliano is immersed in the reading of a book. Inside he eats, sleeps and dreams. Constellations of photos, shot with his old cellphone, weave together the experience of living on the street with that of his inner life. Massimiliano lives in the belly of his car, but will he dare to come out and turn the page of his own book when he’s due to receive an important inheritance?

Tënk's opinion

A lot of films attempt to describe life on the fringes, but few manage to achieve the distance that Zlatolin Donchev uses to draw us into Massimiliano’s world. He never reduces this man to just his homeless status. On the contrary, he gives us access to his inner space, his imprisonment in the belly of the whale. Without a single word exchanged, a fertile dialogue is established between the filmmaker’s images and the photos taken by Massimiliano with his old mobile phone. The encounter makes us feel this relegation, but also the sensibility and poetry that remain like so many paths to make his way back into the world.

Éva Tourrent
Tënk artistic director


Zlatolin Donchev

Zlatolin Donchev

Zlatolin Donchev (1990, Beijing) is a Bulgarian filmmaker, member of the artistic duo Milotta/Donchev. Currently he lives between Genoa and Sofia, basing his practice in the field of contemporary art. Donchev has studied painting in Bulgaria and in Italy, subsequently obtaining a master degree in visual arts from the Academy of fine arts of Genoa and a degree in video production from the college APM of Saluzzo (Italy). It is in this latter film school where in 2014 he became interested in film directing, learning from prominent Italian filmmakers and eventually undertaking a 3-month internship with the film directors Gianluca and Massimiliano De Serio. Since 2015, he has been working in video productions for different artists, while exhibiting his work with Milotta/Donchev collective. Book of Jonah is his first entirely independent feature film, produced by De Serio brothers.