In the year of its 100th anniversary, the director, screenwriter,
writer, public figure will be honored with the award
of the Sofia Municipality for his contribution to the art of cinema
"Angel Wagenstein: one life, three revolutions, 52 films, 4 novels, 1000 pages of" scribbles ". With these captions begins the American documentary "Art Is A Weapon", dedicated to Angel Wagenstein.
Wagenstein, whom everyone simply calls Jackie, had a tumultuous, eventful life and it’s one of the most significant untold stories in world cinema. An activist of the Resistance movement during the Second World War, sentenced to death, he is a prominent film screenwriter, director, writer, MP and rebel throughout his conscious life.
In 2022, when he will celebrate his 100th anniversary, Angel Wagenstein invokes respect with a sharp mind, critical thinking, while his charisma and elegant sense of humor remain intact. "How can I tell you, the most important thing is not to lose your sense of humor. For a long time now, I have wanted nothing but health. My biography is too long for me to analize..
Angel Wagenstein was born on October 17, 1922 in Plovdiv. He spent his childhood in France, where his parents emigrated for political reasons because of their leftist beliefs. After the amnesty, the family returned to Bulgaria. In his book Before the End of the World, Wagenstein explains how his nickname "Jackie" came about. He remembers the legendary silent film "The Kid" by Charlie Chaplin - little Angel watched it several times, accompanied by his aunts. They likened him to the little villain Jackie Coogan, and his nickname remains to this day.
Angel Wagenstein graduated in dramaturgy in Moscow. He is the author of 50 screenplays for films - feature, documentary and animated. From 1950 he became a screenwriter in Bulgarian Film Studios and at DEFA. His 1959 film “Stars'', directed by Konrad Wolf, won the Special Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Among his most famous screenplays are the films "Supplement to the Law for the Protection of the State", "Goya", "Stars in the Hair, Tears in the Eyes", "Boris I", "After the End of the World". In 1980 he was a member of the international jury of the 30th Berlin International Film Festival.
In the 1990s, he became a writer and published the novels “Isaac's Pentateuch”, “Far from Toledo'' and “Goodbye Shanghai”, the latter two with international honors. His books have been translated into many languages - French, English, Russian, German, Spanish, Italian. His novels have won prestigious world literary awards and nominations, including the 2004 Jean Monnet European Prize for Literature. He was officially invited to become a member of the American Writers Guild.
Angel Wagenstein is an honorary citizen of Plovdiv, a true cosmopolitan and "giant of the spirit." He is a winner of many Bulgarian and foreign awards such as the Stara Planina Order, the Bulgarian State Prize "Paisii Hilendarski", an officer of the French Orders "For Merit" and "For Literature and Art", the German National Award for Art I st., The Annual Literary Prize of the Paris Sorbonne, the International Award for Human Rights "World without Nazism", the Russian Order of Merit in the Development of Our Cultural Relations, a silver plaque of thanks from the Kingdom of Spain and others.
"I belong to a nation that never loses its sense of humor. Have you met a Bulgarian who does not complain to you? Have you met an Armenian who does not brag to you? Have you ever met a Jew who didn't try to tell you a joke? Despite all the tragedy in which we live, one should rejoice and tell jokes, "said Angel Wagenstein.
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