SAVINA PETKOVA


“Film is the closest thing we have to magic. By its carnality, gentle touch, or painful plunges into society’s wounds, it is affective beyond words. We, as writers, have to do justice to its elevated reality (what people would call ‘sur-realism’) by bridging images with concepts, we ought to show such communication as possible. Films already do that for us, and we have to be humble enough to bear the message.”

Savina, on why she loves cinema

REGULAR CONTRIBUTOR

Savina Petkova is PhD candidate in Film Studies at King’s College London, pursuing research on the representation of animals and ethics on screen.

She earned a BA in Philosophy from Sofia University but never quite situated herself within abstract concepts. Images were always what fascinated her and drove her to pursue a postgraduate degree in Film Studies (MA) at University College London.

While at UCL, Savina completed her research thesis on political philosophy within the films of Greek director, Yorgos Lanthimos. Savina says she will be the first one to write a book on Lanthimos (which she has already stated to the director himself, twice).

EXPERIENCE

In 2018, Savina was mentored by film critic Nick Pinkerton (Film Comment, Sight & Sound, ArtForum) as a participant in the Young Film Critics Workshop at Film Fest Gent, and was a participant of the 2019 Cinema Rediscovered Film Critics Workshop. In 2020, Savina was also selected for the Berlinale Talents programme.

As a freelance writer and commentator, Savina has featured in MUBI Notebook, Girls on TopsPhotogénie, Screen QueensMoving Image Artists Journal, and The Cinematologists Podcast. In 2019 she programmed a season of films inspired by her academic research in Sofia, Bulgaria.

She is a member of the Federation of Film Critics of Europe and the Mediterranean and writes regularly in her native tongue for Bulgarian Film Society and Literary Newspaper.

Savina has published in peer-reviewed academic journals including The Journal of Cultural AnthropologySlovo: School of Slavonic and Eastern European Studies, and Philosophia

She has also presented her academic research at a number of conferences, including The New Utopias Interdisciplinary Conference, The Humanitarian Conference, The Medieval Philosophy Conference, and the Film-Philosophy Conference.

NOMADLAND

Chloe Zhao’s third feature entwines a lyrical exploration of the American West with the drilling effects of capitalism and old age.

SHE DIES TOMORROW

Amy Seimetz’s absurdism and existential dread depicts everyday grief and matches the pandemic’s “new normal”

KALA AZAR

Intra species oscillations govern Janis Rafa’s haunting first feature, winner of Rotterdam’s KNF Award

PROXIMA

Mother and daughter say goodbye in Alice Winocour’s latest feature, an earthbound drama that evokes otherworldly grief

MEANWHILE ON EARTH

A purgatorial vision of the Swedish funeral industry examines existentialism and death, and does so vivaciously

ISADORA’S CHILDREN

Gestures predate personal grief in this meditative feature debut by dancer-director Damien Manivel

COLOUR OUT OF SPACE

A family goes berserk in a Lovecraftian horror which you’ll remember for Nicolas Cage milking an alpaca

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