Tobacco (film)

Last updated

Tobacco film poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Nikola Korabov
Written by
Based onTobacco
by Dimitar Dimov
Cinematography Vulo Radev
Music by Vassil Kazandjiev
Distributed by Boyana Film
Release date
  • 5 November 1962 (1962-11-05)
Running time
150 minutes

Tobacco (Bulgarian : Тютюн) is a 1962 Bulgarian drama film written and directed by Nikola Korabov, and based on Dimitar Dimov's 1951 novel of the same name. The film deals with the conflicts and contradictions in Bulgarian society during a period stretching from the early thirties to the end of World War II, and stars Nevena Kokanova as Irina, an aspiring medicine student, and Yordan Matev as Boris, an ambitious man from a working class background. It was selected to compete for the Palme d'Or at the 1963 Cannes Film Festival. [1]



"Dimitar Dimov was called an "erotic" and a "Freudian". He was crushed by criticism. And what did I feel when I had to turn 1500 pages of this novel into a screenplay of 150? It was no less dramatic. I perceived this as a challenge and a kind of adventure that was like "playing with fire"."

—Korabov on working on Tobacco's film adaptation [2]

In August 1951, the publishing house Narodna Kultura received an internal review of Dimitar Dimov's novel Tobacco from the literary critic Pantelei Zarev. In his review, Zarev made recommendations for corrections in the novel, so that it could be accurate to the principles of socialist realism. However, the novel was printed without the recommended corrections.

In the late autumn of the same year, the book was already on the market. Reader interest in Dimov's work exceeded expectations and the book was sold out within days. In January 1952, Dimov was personally congratulated with a letter from Prime Minister Valko Chervenkov. This did not become public knowledge, but word of mouth spread in literary circles, and in the same month, the Union of Bulgarian Writers nominated Tobacco for the Dimitrov Prize.

Other writers were envious and proposed a discussion of the novel's nomination. At the forum itself, Dimov was criticized for "bending" the party doctrine, and in February of the same year, the Literature Front newspaper published several reviews in a row that critisised the novel. Chervenkov attempted to protect Dimov and his work through articles in the Worker's Deed , but literary critics were almost completely unanimous in their insistence on corrections in the novel. According to some of them, Dimov professed a bourgeois philosophy. Forced by the circumstances, Dimov revised his novel and added 260 new pages, in which he explained the principles of the story from a Marxist point of view.

In 1962, Nikola Korabov began working on a film adaptation of the novel alongside Dimov. Korabov wrote the characters' plot lines, as well as the film's episodes and composition, while Dimov worked on the dialogues. The film's production, however, was also surrounded by controversy.

When word spread around that Nevena Kokanova would play Irina, the Arts Council expressed its disapproval. At that time, she was a trainee actress at the Yambol Theatre, with one or two small roles. Some described Korabov's decision to cast her as "crazy", while Kokanova herself was described as "unprepossessing". Kokanova ultimately portrayed the character which was her breakout role. [2]


Boris, Pavel and Stefan are the sons of a poor Latin teacher in the countryside. Boris is ambitious and dreams of money and power, while his younger brothers are communists, devoted to the cause and the party. Boris meets Irina at a grape harvest and falls in love with her, while Pavel falls in love with her friend Lila, who is also a member of the Communist Party. Irina's father is a senior guard from the district administration. When she leaves the countryside to study medicine in Sofia, Boris marries Maria, the daughter of the owner of the Nicotiana tobacco factory.

After Maria's father dies, Boris inherits the factory and becomes rich. However, his wife's health is gradually deteriorating, she is mentally ill and cannot recognise the people around her. Irina and Boris became lovers, and after Maria's death, they get married. Shortly before that, Irina's father is killed during a strike at the factory.

Boris makes deals with German entrepreneurs, while Sofia is bombed by the Allies, and Irina becomes increasingly aware of his true nature. World War II is coming to an end and Boris plans a big deal with a Greek merchant. Its success depends on von Geyer, the general director of a German tobacco concern. Boris asks Irina to seduce him. Attracted by the Nietzschean philosophy and von Geyer's aristocracy, Irina becomes his lover. The three go to Greece where Boris arranges the biggest deal of his life. Exhausted by alcohol, he contracts malaria and dies.

As the English army advances, the partisans go into open combat actions. On 9 September 1944, Irina buries Boris in the place where they first met. A shot rings out.


Korabov and Kokanova on the red carpet at the 1963 Cannes Film Festival before the screening of Tobacco Korabov and Kokanova Cannes.jpg
Korabov and Kokanova on the red carpet at the 1963 Cannes Film Festival before the screening of Tobacco


AwardDate of ceremonyCategoryRecipient(s)ResultRef(s)
Cannes Film Festival 23 May 1963 Palme d'Or TobaccoNominated [3]
Golden Rose Film Festival 14 August 1963Best Actress Nevena Kokanova Won [4]
Special Jury Award Nikola Korabov, Vulo Radev Won

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Valko Chervenkov</span> Bulgarian communist politician, prime minister (1900-1980)

Valko Velyov Chervenkov was a Bulgarian communist politician. He served as leader of the Communist Party between 1949 and 1954, and Prime Minister between 1950 and 1956. His rule was marked by the consolidation of the Stalinist model, rapid industrialisation, collectivisation and large-scale persecution of political opponents.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bulgaria at the 1980 Summer Olympics</span> Sporting event delegation

Bulgaria competed at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, USSR. 271 competitors, 183 men and 88 women, took part in 151 events in 20 sports.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bulgaria men's national basketball team</span>

The Bulgaria men's national basketball team represents Bulgaria in international basketball. The governing body is the Bulgarian Basketball Federation.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Dupnitsa</span> Town in Kyustendil Province, Bulgaria

Dupnitsa, or Dupnica, is a town in Western Bulgaria. It is at the foot of the highest mountain in the Balkan Peninsula – the Rila Mountain, and about 50 km (31 mi) south of the capital Sofia. Dupnitsa is the second largest town in Kyustendil Province.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">St Nedelya Church assault</span> 1925 bombing of a church in Sofia, Bulgaria by Communist Party militants

The St Nedelya Church assault was a terrorist attack on St Nedelya Church in Sofia, Bulgaria. It was carried out on 16 April 1925, when a group of the Military Organisation of the Bulgarian Communist Party directed and supplied by the Soviet Military Intelligence blew up the church's roof during the funeral service of General Konstantin Georgiev, who had been killed in a previous communist assault on 14 April. 150 people, mainly from the country's political and military elite, were killed in the attack and around 500 bystander believers, who attended the liturgy, were injured.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cinema of Bulgaria</span> Filmmaking in Bulgaria

Bulgaria has been producing films since 1915. Bulgarian cinema is known for the pioneering work of directors like Donyo Donev in the field of animation. The filming and screening of Vasil Gendov's film Bulgaran is Gallant (1915) is considered to be the beginning of Bulgarian cinematography. Historically, Bulgarian films have been noted for their realism, social themes and technical innovation.

<i>Velikite Balgari</i>

Velikite Balgari was the Bulgarian spin-off of the 2002 program 100 Greatest Britons produced by the BBC. Aired on the Bulgarian National Television's Kanal 1, its first stage began on 9 June 2006 and finished on 10 December, with a show on 23 December announcing the names of the Top 100 as chosen by popular vote. The Top 10 were announced in alphabetical order. In the second stage, which lasted until 17 February 2007, the viewers determined the order in the Top 10. Documentaries dedicated to every Top 10 personality were aired during the second stage.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">FC Hebar Pazardzhik</span> Bulgarian football club

FC Hebar is a Bulgarian association football club based in Pazardzhik. The club currently competes in the First League, the first tier of the Bulgarian football league system.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Dimitar Dimov</span>

Dimitar Todorov Dimov was a Bulgarian dramatist, novelist and veterinary surgeon.

The Boy Turns Man is a Bulgarian comedy-drama film released in 1972, directed by Lyudmil Kirkov, starring Nevena Kokanova, Philip Trifonov, Kiril Gospodinov and Sashka Bratanova.

Tango is a 1969 Bulgarian drama film directed by Vasil Mirchev. It was entered into the 6th Moscow International Film Festival.

The 1950 Bulgarian Cup Final was the 10th final of the Bulgarian Cup. It was contested by Levski Sofia and CSKA Sofia. It took three matches at People's Army Stadium to determine a winner. The first took place on 26 November, the second on 27 November and the third on 3 December 1950. The cup was won by Levski Sofia. They won the 2nd replay 1–0 after extra time.

The 1949 Bulgarian Cup Final was the 9th final of the Bulgarian Cup. It was contested by Levski Sofia and CSKA Sofia. It took three matches at Yunak Stadium to determine a winner. The first took place on 8 May, the second on 16 May and the third on 17 May 1949. The cup was won by Levski Sofia. They won the 2nd replay 2–1 after extra time.

Stolen Life is a Bulgarian medical drama series that airs on NOVA, created by Evtim Miloshev directed by Zornitsa Sofia and Peter Valchanov and produced by Alexander Hristov, Evtim Miloshev, Gabriel Georgiev and Ivan Spassov. Participating actors are Stoyan Alexiev, Maria Kavardjikova, Alexander Alexiev, Ianina Kasheva, Ioana Bukovska-Davidova, Emil Markov, Radina Dumanyan, Dimo Alexiev, Vasil Banov, Martina Vachkova, Milena Jivkova and others.

Dimitrovgradtsy is a Bulgarian drama film from 1956 directed by Nikola Korabov and Ducho Mundrov. It is based on a screenplay by Buryan Enchev, with cinematography by Vulo Radev. The music was composed by Stefan Remenkov. Georgi Kaloyanchev, Maria Rusalieva, Ivan Dimov, and Boris Chirakov appear in the lead roles.


  1. "Festival de Cannes: Tobacco". Festival de Cannes. Retrieved 27 February 2009.
  2. 1 2 Mariyanska, Emi (29 January 2017). "Драмата "Тютюн"". Impressio (in Bulgarian). Retrieved 15 August 2022.
  3. Leviev-Sawyer, Clive (10 August 2018). "Bulgaria: The years when the cinema screen was red". The Sofia Globe. Retrieved 14 August 2022.
  4. "Тютюн". Dir (in Bulgarian). Retrieved 14 August 2022.