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STOP PRESS: Romanians @ the Vancouver International Film Festival – 2010

October 4th, 2010 · No Comments · Diary, International Media, Reviews

Vancouver International Film Festival - VIFF 2010

STOP PRESS: Romanians @ the Vancouver International Film Festival

(September 30 to 15 October, 2010)

Our Canadian Correspondent informs us about the following SIX Romanian Films being shown at the VIFF:

1.  Aurora
2.  The Autobiography of Nicholae Ceausescu
3.  Belly Of The Whale (Burta Balenei)
4.  Derby
5.  If I Want To Whistle, I Whistle (Eu Cand Vreau Sa Fluier, Fluier)
6.  Morgen

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AURORA:

Directed by  Cristi PUIU:  “Cristi Puiu’s first film since The Death of Mr. Lazarescu stars the director himself as a troubled engineer whose secret plan methodically unfolds as Bucharest day turns into night. A stunningly shot and uncompromising work from a contemporary master. Aurora will not be to everyone’s taste, but it is undoubtedly the work of an audacious, intelligent writer-director (and, at least for now, actor) who’s both ready and very able to deal with areas of human experience of which many other filmmakers seem barely to be aware. It was the inescapable fact of mortality in Mr Lazarescu; here it is the pain and confusion of just being alive. And Puiu’s special approach to the realist aesthetic ensures that Aurora rings unusually true. Superb stuff.” – Time Out

2.  The Autobiography of Nicholae Ceausescu

The best works of the recent Romanian New Wave directly engage with the decades of the dictatorship, and Andrei Ujica’s three-hour masterpiece gives us the raw material with which the past can help clarify the present, revealing the omnipresence of propaganda that, after the Iron Curtain was raised, was ripe for ironic reinterpretation. Ujica’s montage and mise en scène are more akin to Hollywood musicals or ‘70s epics like The Deer Hunter than a traditional historical period piece; there’s even home-movie footage revealing the dictator to be an adept hunter of bears and a cheater at volleyball. Most impressive is a series of parades with world leaders seeking to outdo themselves with fascistic splendour, culminating in an extraordinary state visit by Ceausescu to North Korea. Ujica presents Ceausescu as Ceausescu wanted himself presented. Hence, the title – and, as it’s an autobiography written by someone other than the subject, it’s a fictional wo

Most documentaries seek to control what you see; Ujica unpacks footage shot to serve its master, revealing that any footage – even propaganda – contains its own contradiction.

3.  Belly Of The Whale (Burta Balenei)

Ana Lungu and Ana Szel’s improvised, very, very low-budget discovery takes as its subject a section of Romanian society not usually examined in other films of that country’s New Wave. Belly of the Whale looks unflinchingly at these thirtysomethings with a remarkable intimacy built via a controlled mise en scène,

4.  Derby

Directed By: Paul Negoescu. Mircea has a 15-year-old daughter whose boyfriend is invited to dine with the family. He arrives early and they go to her bedroom. While watching TV, Mircea can hear his daughter moaning from her room. The dinner starts and Mircea finds out that the boyfriend supports a different football team.

5.  If I Want To Whistle, I Whistle (Eu Cand Vreau Sa Fluier, Fluier)

Directed By: Florin Serban: A cast of nonprofessional actors (including several actual convicts), keen attention to the minutia of prison life and the vérité-style camerawork employed by cinematographer Marius Panduru (Police, Adjective) leave the film steeped in atmospheric verisimilitude.

6.  Morgen

Directed By: Marian Crisan. Winner of the Palme d’Or for short films at Cannes with Megatron, Marian Crisan came upon the idea for his first feature in a local newspaper, when he read about illegal immigrants discovered in a sewer. Crisan’s hometown in northern Romania close to the Hungarian border, Morgen deals with the absurdity of the concept of national borders in an interdependent Europe. But Crisan, who possesses a keen visual sense – even by the end of the film it’s likely you won’t have realized each scene unfolds in a single take – isn’t primarily an issue-oriented filmmaker: he’s closer to 21st century Chaplinesque



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