Rarely does a debut feature come along with the visual and narrative confidence of Thirst, a beautifully crafted, subtly told story of two very different teens hesitantly coming together in Bulgaria’s rural southwest. Directed with arresting yet subtle flair by Svetla Tsotsorkova, whose affinity for minimal dialogue elides with her careful attention to how people observe each other, the film combines chamber-piece elements with sensitivity to landscape, light and shadow. From the first fixed-camera shot, it’s clear Tsotsorkova knows exactly what she’s doing (…).
None of the characters is named (…). The boy (Alexander Benev) lives with his bookish father (Ivaylo Hristov) and hard-working mother (Svetlana Yancheva) at the top of a hill. She washes the bed linens for hotels in town, but water is unreliable at best, so they pay a man (Vassil Mihajlov) and his teen daughter (Monika Naydenova) (…) to locate an underground spring on the property. The girl is one tough cookie, played with astonishing swagger by Naydenova, a real find. Exuding a combative air that keeps everyone at a distance, she unnerves the family, though the boy, far less self-assured than she, is fascinated.
Jay Weissberg, Variety