Mayor, Shepherd, Widow, Dragon

Documentary / 90 min / in Production

Pirin is a secluded village that will be extinct in 20 years.
We accompany three locals who deal with it in different ways.
Pirin is the last village in Europe where there is a dragon.

Mayor, Shepherd, Widow, Dragon

Pirin - a secluded village in the Bulgarian mountains with around 130 inhabitants. The number of residents shrinks by about 10 percent every year. Soon the village will be extinct - swallowed up by nature. Even though its inhabitants are mostly old widowed women, there are some bachelors at the age of 50 who still live with their parents. They are witnesses to the fact that more and more houses are being abandoned and turned into ruins and that the steep village cemetery, on the other hand, no longer has enough space to accommodate all those in need. The faded EU flag hangs at the town hall in the centre of the village. In search of better living conditions, most young people have emigrated to Western Europe.

But this film is interested in the people who stayed there. For those who struggle to change things; or simply to preserve them as they are; or sometimes just to endure them. The mayor, the shepherd and a widow, who wants to marry her son, let us dive into the unique atmosphere of the village. A long and detailed observation of the protagonists allows a deep and intimate insight into their worlds. Their destinies touch us, their longings and fears become visible and uninterruptedly shape the routine and inherently simple life.

All Piriners share the legend of the dragon, who is also a resident of the village. The dragon Gincho becomes an invisible protagonist about whom there is much talk and speculation. He is omnipotent, evil and unpredictable, but he is also the protector of the village, in whose house the sun always shines. 

In Pirin, rituals and traditions have a high value and try to assert themselves against the global harmonization, industrialization and universalization of ethical values and cultural assets. The film is a contemporary document of a special place in Europe that will soon have disappeared. By portraying this place and its fascinating inhabitants, a piece of mystical reality is captured which disappears through the rapid transience and loses itself in the perception of large Europe.


Written and directed by: Eliza Petkova
Cinematography by: Constanze Schmitt
Sound and Sound design: Hannes Marget



Year of production: 2020
Production: Wood Water Films
In coproduction with: rbb
In cooperation with: dffb
Funded by: Medienboard Berlin Brandenburg