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Directed by: 
CARMEN LIDIA VIDU
Ion Bârlădeanu is already an iconic figure, known worldwide as a homeless art-world darling starring in Alexander Nanău’s documentary, The World According to Ion B. Carmen Lidia Vidu portrays him as a unique soul who ingenuously asserts his obsessions and favourite things found in Bucharest. Through editing she captures fragments of his digressive desires and memories, emphasizing his mercurial personality joined by a significant number of real and fictional figures which exist in his famous collages. She reaches his iconography following his artistic direction swamped in irony and social critique. The collages he puts together are his own films but Carmen succeeds to create a moving collage placing him in the center of his own picture.” (Claudia Cojocariu, BIEFF)
Directed by: 
MARA TRIFU
Under the balmy skies of the American Dream, Romanian filmmaker Mara Trifu reaches for the stars in Perfection Is Forever, an acutely observant allegory for our endless search for beauty and wholeness. Within Los Angeles’ culture of glamour and ralter-egos, we’re guided by two crusaders of the ideal: a Superman impersonator and drag-queen Monaliza Doomsday. Captured in their environment on the periphery of downtown’s hustle-and-bustle, they take us through their rituals of beautification as breasts are tucked, make-up is applied and the all-important hair products produce the Superman curl. Out in the open, society calls ‘action’ and the role-playing performance begins. Trifu’s trademark approach of lensing documentary through the magical gives a poignant touch to the film’s closing message: there is, indeed, a Superman in all of us. (Andrei Tănăsescu, BIEFF)
Directed by: 
VEDA POPOVICI
Veda Popovici depicts through this video performance a series of tableaux vivants inspired by art poses of Renaissance paintings, Orientalism or sculptures (such as Venus de Milo), providing an intensive discourse about art history retold through the black square created by Kazimir Malevich one hundred years ago. The artist smashes this sign of erudition and class distinction with an enchanted story that guides its audience to reflect moments in the art history and its political contexts. Her delicate movements and discerning eyes, disguised and cloacked with the same black square brings attention to the patriarchal structures which dominated our world, highlighting a feminist discourse which invites you to choose your own revolutionary gear: to participate or to watch. (Claudia Cojocariu, BIEFF)
Directed by: 
ARNOLD ESTEFÁN & ANCA BENERA
No Shelter from the Storm is a video-installation set in woodland that has been devastated by deforestation and therefore offers no place to hide for those escaping any kind of conflict. Besides its ecological viewpoint which talks in terms of mass destruction by multinational corporations, the video echoes about human condition and loneliness in a homeland that struggles to maintain its habitat. An optimistic note is provided by the intermingled whistling seen as a solitary struggle, in the hope of collective solidarity. Shot in black and white, the textural images offer a timelessness feeling of insecurity, while camera movements depict a paradox between the absence of the forest and its beauty. (Claudia Cojocariu, BIEFF)
Directed by: 
CĂLIN DAN
Renowned Romanian artist Călin Dan marks his return to the Festival with Still Life, Poire Gelée, a meditative companion-piece to his 2012 film Still Life, 20th C. Where the former film operated within the tradition of fiction and documentary cinema, Still Life, Poire Gelée goes deeper within the conceptual realm of video-art. Ideas of architectural form, memory and maternal lineage all congeal in the symbolic life-cycle depicted the gradual build-up and eventual erosion of a mound of white powder. Beneath it all, lies the female form, tranquil and contemplative, pulsating to the rhythm of life within the granules of time. (Andrei Tănăsescu, BIEFF)
Directed by: 
DANIEL DJAMO
Wonderfully refreshing and meaningful in its subtextual discourse, Territorial Marking is a beautiful work of naïf art by Daniel Djamo. On screen we see the artist appear in still-frame, waving the Romanian flag through a forest. On voiceover, we hear a recording of his anxious mother discouraging him from creating his next controversial art piece. Blessed with an artist’s stubbornness, Djamo refuses to submit to his mother’s fear of the French authorities and continues the back-and-forth until the perfect alternative is discovered (accidentally and under duress) by the matriarch. Yet listen closely, for behind their domestic argument and the mother’s consternation, you’ll find the traumatic paralysis of the immigrant Other, made worse by the scar of Communist oppression, rearing its head like Djamo’s flailing flag. (Andrei Tănăsescu, BIEFF)
Directed by: 
THE BUREAU OF MELODRAMATIC RESEARCH
The Bureau of Melodramatic Research delivers the last installment of their Alien Passions trilogy with the video performance titled Above the Weather. Hidden by the genre veil of the road movie, artists Alina Popa and Irina Gheorghe perform as two coquettish socialites on their way back home. Framed in their turn-of-the-century convertible, their preening conversation stands in oblivious contrast to the surrounding desolate industrial landscape of Romania’s oil-fields and the radio announcements forecasting an impending environmental apocalypse. Captive to the pathetic fallacy of 1950s Hollywood melodramas, Above the Weather is an incisive commentary on our catastrophic dependency on fossil fuels, beckoning us to ‘keep calm and carry on’ gently into the good night, to the telling tune of Eurovision’s parochialism. (Andrei Tănăsescu, BIEFF)
Directed by: 
DRAGOȘ ALEXANDRESCU
Dragoș Alexandrescu is willing to show us how the simulative nature of our existence, of the inherent constraints of the system affect us in our daily life and in our personal development. The biggest three doctrines exposed with their specific books: marxism, religion and capitalism are buried under the failure of the entire society; they’re being deconstructed through a meticulous work process of tearing out and aligning paper fragments in a highly organized labor which gives us the successful ideological image, that of binding together people. However, the counterpoint is the girl who sits and knits and rejects the nostalgia of simpler times, emphasizing the fact that having flaws still let you succeed in your creation and in what must be reconstructed. (Claudia Cojocariu, BIEFF)
Directed by: 
MIHAI SOFRONEA
An experiment on immobility and motion referencing the beginning of cinema, THE TREE combines a photographic approach to films with dramatic elements which need to be progressively decoded. Long-shots show from a distance two silhouettes, one of a woman, another of a man, a tree, a car, a book, and a story told in reverse. A minimalist film with an original concept, The Tree brings variations on the same tableau, in which every return unveils a new layer of meaning, and the almost imperceptible differences in color and shadows build a different atmosphere each time, while keeping the viewer’s narrative expectations in suspense until the very end. (Bianca Bănică, BIEFF)
Directed by: 
ANA MARIA SAVIN
A home-movie shot throughout a weekend in the countryside, THIS TIME, LAST YEAR depicts an almost symbiotic friendship between two girls and what happens when a third person comes between them. The film becomes an audio-visual transposition of a diary page in which memories and feelings are connected in an elliptical way, capturing the irrationality inherent to love. With a raw aesthetic at the border between diary film and found footage, This Time, Last Year by Ana Maria Savin explores not only the ties of human attachment and its consequences, but also the implications of memory and its deceitful alterations.
Directed by: 
LARISA CRUNȚEANU
An intimate self-reflective journey, At the Mirror signed by Larisa Crunțeanu, seductively portrays the rite of passage into adulthood. A girl – performed by the artist – watches herself (us) into the mirror (camera lens). While she combs her hair, she whispers absent-mindedly a (self-referential) song about a girl (in front of a mirror) who discovers herself in her budding womanhood. Gracefully capturing the tension between innocence and sensuality, the performative body radiates the excitement and anxiety, the confusion and rebellion, the longing and solitude of becoming a woman. Beyond this, At the Mirror works further on a meta-level, as its every new screening is a recording of the previous projection. As the artist notes: This is a work which disappears with every projection. Just like memories, in the end the image disappears, leaving behind a fiction resembling the original story. Impressive in its simplicity, conceptual rigor and depth, At the Mirror becomes a sensorial discourse on time, on memory's frailty and the inevitability of change. (Adina Pintilie, BIEFF)
Directed by: 
DIANA MIRON
Cleverly playing with the tension between the visual and audio discourse, Cobalt Blue by Diana Miron delivers a captivating reflection on the connection between aesthetics and the body. Starting from the root of the word aesthetics as an experience of the senses, the voiceover muses on various philosophical views on the topic, while the artist’s performative body undergoes an inner transformation which ironically addresses the viewer's scopophilia. Intelligent, ludic and sensual at the same time, Cobalt Blue will stay imprinted in our sensorial memory, existing in that elusive area where the artist, the work and the audience meet and change one another. As the film says, we are fundamentally aesthetic beings, we are embodied beings, we are beings that exist in this way - we sense, we care about these senses, we are transformed by them and our actions and view of the world are shaped by that. (Adina Pintilie, BIEFF)
Directed by: 
ALEXANDRU PETRU BĂDELIȚĂ
HKDPGH is the protagonist’s journey on the beach of the subconscious on which waves break as rhythmically as thoughts. A meditative audio-visual collage of film and animation, the short compiles multiple audio poems and director’s voice-over confessions, exploring the existential turmoil of a person at a crossroads of his life. Like in a lucid dream, the man is aware that he sleeps, but is unable to wake up, deepening in strong symbolic explorations of a black and white dream. Bădeliță reveals to us the subconscious, while the subconscious itself buries and digs up memories, dreams and fears in an attempt to reconcile with reality. (Gabriela Lupu, BIEFF)
Directed by: 
ALEXANDRU PETRU BĂDELIȚĂ
In an exercise of self-exorcism, Alexandru Petru Bădeliță gives a moving personal account of his traumatized childhood with a rich profusion of narrative layers and artistic techniques. I Made You, I Kill You, which translates - literally - in the power of life and death the paterfamilias holds over the members of his family, is the ultimate motto for the patriarchal society that rules the life of the author's native village. A collage of family photos and children's drawings mix with animation and with a touch of surrealism in an arresting cinematic whole. Voice-overs take turns and complete the grim picture of a childhood dominated by domestic violence. As in reverberation, the father's account tells of beatings and abuse he had suffered himself as a child, which leads to the dispassionate conclusion that he is not a monster; he simply has no knowledge of another way of life. I Made You, I Kill You casts a poignant uncompromising look at a disturbing world where such experiences are not the exception, but the norm. (Adina Marin, BIEFF 2017)
Directed by: 
LUIZA PÂRVU & TOMA PEIU
Drawing on Albert Camus’ eponymous text, Luiza Pârvu and Toma Peiu’s Sisyphus 2.0 is a visual compendium of humanity’s search for meaning. Made of real surveillance footage, the film assumes its perspective’s omniscience, beginning as a series of quotidian assemblages of ‘a day in a life’ of the global citizens, embraced by a voice-over retelling of the Sisyphus myth. With deep humanism and sensibility, Pârvu and Peiu question the meaning of the search, as man-made violence and natural cataclysms - the other side of humanity’s essential creative impulse - jolt the daily existence of the surveilled humans. In the end, faith overcomes fatalism, the search becomes the meaning itself, and the film’s closing, noble gesture, cradles us to the lullaby of hope. (Andrei Tănăsescu, BIEFF 2017)
Directed by: 
DANIEL DJAMO
Dry-humoured, purposefully childish and unapologetically critical, The Story of Little Hans marks Romanian visual artist Daniel Djamo’s third return in the BIEFF competition. Loosely inspired by the eponymous story collected by the Brothers Grimm, the short makes use of the deceitfully naïve tone of fairy-tales to investigate how national identities are changing in light of the current political climate. A young golden-locked Austrian boy (played by Djamo himself) skips along the woods, unaware of the fiendish immigrants and refugees out to devour him. Depriving us of a saving plot twist, the short delivers a cynical punchline, drawing attention to the absurdity of the stories we choose to tell about current events and how they inherently shape who we are. (Diana Mereoiu, BIEFF 2017)
Directed by: 
ARTUR BORUZS
On the 1st of January, 2014, UK visa restrictions for Romanian workers were lifted, prompting fears of an impending invasion. Avoiding the news coverage of the British reaction, NEW YEAR’S EVE 2014 looks, rather, at the hypothetical results in Romania. Local TV news fragments ferment the hysteria while the streets blink their neon lights in a deserted city. Utopia turns to dystopia, where an abandoned Romania is left to ponder its future. Deliberate and foreboding, Boruzs’ satire turns to science-fiction, offering a timely alternative to the underlying issue of global overpopulation. (Andrei Tănăsescu, BIEFF)
Directed by: 
DANIEL DJAMO
Transcripts of interviews with Romanian immigrants added over the image of the grey, yet idyllic French countryside warn of an approaching storm. Through fixed long takes and muted field recordings, the viewer is engaged in reading and thus embodying the voices of the people living on the streets of Paris. In this process of identification, the practical when and how of the titular tempest give way to the metaphysical where and why, bringing to life the spectres of the migrants’ experiences. Reconciled and contradictory, heart wrenching and deeply poignant, these are the collective voices of our contemporary, human condition. (Andrei Tănăsescu, BIEFF)
Directed by: 
ALEXANDRU PETRU BĂDELIȚĂ
An intimate, overcast film, AUTISM splits open the claustrophobic heart of depression and looks at its psychologically and physically debilitating effects. Dividing its thematic and formal construction among oppositional lines, the film looks at the oppressive, external forces (e.g. politics, religion) that bear down on the soul of man. Trapped between the claustrophobia of the young, depressive protagonist and his apartment, we observe him going about his daily routine, in an attempt to stave off a growing anxiety. Through the power of exposition, cinema thus becomes the therapeutic catharsis for both protagonist and viewer alike. (Andrei Tănăsescu, BIEFF)
Directed by: 
MIRCEA BOBÎNĂ
The 20th century gets broken down to its essentials, in Mircea Bobînă’s history lesson CINESCOPE. Formally recalling the intellectual montage of the Soviets as well as the ironic humour of Bruce Conner, archive footage and historical moments are cut together to sequence the might and plight of modern man. Carried by narrated poetry and pointed nursery rhymes, the film reveals its titular double-entendre as both a microscopic macro-vision of modern civilization and a confirmation for the cinematic dramaturgy that fuels the mechanism of life. (Andrei Tănăsescu, BIEFF)
Directed by: 
VLAD FENEȘAN
Under the Warden Collective creative trademark, in DAUGHTER OF THE EARTH, Romanian folklore gets a 21st century make-over courtesy of director Vlad Feneșan. The proverbial growth of the soil is fused with folk stories and the myth of creation, to deliver an audio-visual pastiche of the highest (dis)order. Combining traditional costumes and their visual patterning with a pixel aesthetic (similarly present in the 8-bit sounds of the genre-hopping electronic soundtrack), primordial man and woman beget from the soil a new life after a ritualistic dance. Feneșan’s accentuated aesthetics update Romanian tradition in glitzy, glamorous but also playful manner, bridging the gap of history and tradition. (Andrei Tănăsescu, BIEFF)       
Directed by: 
CARIOCA STUDIO (DRAGOȘ TRĂISTARU, ANDREI STOLERU, DRAGOȘ COMAN)
An unconventional re-visitation of mythology is the conceptual piece DEATH BY DIAMONDS & PEARLS, signed by Carioca Studio. "Evoking cultural references, historical moments, and social rebellion, the film proposes connections between old and new and brings into spotlight transformations that took place due to the passing of time. It explores notions of myth, violence, hypocrisy, lust for power, duality. A corrupt world, split between abusers and their victims. Above all there is a punishing force of justice that resets the general equilibrium. The artists question the idea of human condition during different time periods and our interaction with this spiritual belonging. This makes the audience think of issues concerning the significance and presence of myths in our life in the 21st century." (Carioca Studio)
Directed by: 
DELIA ONIGA
Further into the surreal realm, there is the idiosyncratic FISH, signed by visual artist Delia Oniga. “Absurd is that which is devoid of purpose” proclaimed Eugene Ionesco. But what do you call that which consciously goes against its purpose? Two fish wake up from their cryogenic slumber as water swallows them and the ornate plate they’re photogenically placed on. Bubbling brooks and mumbled songs sonically engulf the titular partners’ travels as crickets chirp away into the domestic space they’ve infiltrated. The fish float, they party, they float some more and by the time their pescaterian fever dream ends, fish and film alike are dead in the water. As avant-garde as salmon is avant-current, FISH is an astute and witty paradigm shift. (Andrei Tănăsescu, BIEFF)
Directed by: 
SALLA TYKKÄ
In GIANT by Salla Tykkä, the seemingly distant observation of the very young gymnasts from the Deva sports-center becomes a subtle stylization of reality, creating an alternative space-time, ripe for contemplation and reflection. Through the elegance of the camera’s choreography and the soundtrack’s sensuality, which skillfully relies on the play between silence and noise, Giant (Tiger Award for Short Film at Rotterdam 2014) offers a sensorial experience that makes us viscerally experience the tension between human fascination with grace and beauty and the dehumanizing process of attaining them.
Directed by: 
CARMEN LIDIA VIDU
I WILL NEVER WALK ALONE by Carmen Lidia Vidu (known for her innovative multimedia performances) lends an ear to the voice within us all, presenting a space for the contradiction between our inner Ego and Super-Ego to reveal itself. A female narrator runs through a series of confessions, repeating her childlike vocal mirror’s high-pitched utterances. Still images of a female figure fade from one to the next, as coloured plasmic auras cover up her face. As darkness creeps over her portrait, the tension revealed between the narrator’s inner and outer personas peels away the layers of loneliness. In the process, the director reminds our inner ID that we never truly are alone. (Andrei Tănăsescu, BIEFF)