ROMANIAN Cinematic Experiments

SUNDAY / December 15th / ELVIRA POPESCU CINEMA / 4:30pm





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ANDY WARHOL TRIBUTE (6', Romania, 2013)

Director: BARNA NÉMETHI & VLAD FENEȘAN

A postmodernist remake of two emblematic videos featuring Andy Warhol, a warholian monosyllabic interview on pop art and Andy Warhol Eating a Hamburger, BARNA NÉMETHI's and VLAD FENEȘAN's ANDY WARHOL TRIBUTE takes a look at the artist’s persona, also hinting at a few of his highly influential silk screening prints and recreating characters – such as those played by one of his muses, Edie Sedwick – or quoting his screen tests and other films. Warhol comes back to life with the help of actress Laura Cosoi, androgynously dressed, so as to tell us once more: If you want to know all about Andy Warhol, just look at the surface of my paintings and films and me, and there I am. There’s nothing behind it. Ironically, Andy Warhol himself has become an object of artistic consumption, now quoted. (Oana Ghera, BIEFF 2013)



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ASK THE RIVER, ASK THE TREE (5', Moldova, 2013)

Director: MITOȘ MICLEUȘANU

With the support of:

ASK THE RIVER, ASK THE TREE is a short video experiment which deciphers a blackbird’s trill from a conceptual point of view. The bird is filmed between twigs and tree leaves from two different angles. Its every twitter is then desciphered though the subtitle, in the director’s creative attempt to think from its point of view and voice the bird’s thoughts. The effect is both surprising and amusing by virtue of the imaginative monologue set up for the spectator. The blackbird critiques the side effects of rationality on humanity and the environment, and apparently proposes an insightful understanding that pulsates with infinity and nature. (Luciana Dumitru, BIEFF 2013)



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AWAKEN THEE, ROMANIAN! (1', Romania, 2012)

Director: ALEX GÂLMEANU

AWAKEN THEE, ROMANIAN! is an audio-video experiment which, through minimal means, manages to hint at a whole world of complex implications and tension in the historical relationship between Russia and Romania. On a black screen, placed in front of a blurred still image, the beginning lyrics of the Romanian anthem unfold. In parallel, a voice reads it aloud. But the reading is distorted not only by a Russian accent, but by obviously not knowing to read Romanian. The text is instead pronounced by the Google Translate robot, as it would be written in Russian. The dissonance is created by placing the authority of one language upon the other. This raises questions about the Russian imperialist cultural influence, and, in the context of the national anthem, it is politically suggestive. (Luciana Dumitru, BIEFF 2013)



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ISAC IS STILL SLEEPING (18', Romania, 2012)

Director: ALEXANDRU PONORAN & DIANA DRAGOȘ

ISAC IS STILL SLEEPING tells us about lucid dreaming and the consequences of dealing with the subconscious. Reminding of Linklater’s WAKING LIFE (through elements such as testing the dream by switching the light on and off or looking at the numbers on a wristwatch’s screen), this short film evokes the dream of a young boy called Isac, who is trying to escape the cruel reality by facing the menaces represented by religion (the mother figure) and aggressive authority (the father figure). The dense surrealism and the astounding images remind of some of the great pioneers of the surreal, like Svankmajer or Man Ray. (Mihai Teodor, BIEFF 2013)



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MENU (5', Romania, 2011)

Director: DANIEL NICOLAE DJAMO

MENU is DANIEL DJAMO's film about the woman who raised him, and part of the larger video and photography project BUNI, which collects 160 hours of filmed material and around 500 photographs. Although DJAMO and the woman at the centre of the project are not related, she was more than a mother to him. In 2009 he started to record her, in photography and video, to try and understand what it might mean to pass away, and to try to document and immortalize the process of ageing. It soon became like a diary of her last words, the only thing left of a loved one, as she developed colorectal cancer and diabetes.” (Mihai Teodor, BIEFF 2013)



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OMNIVORE (6', Romania, 2013)

Director: LAURENȚIU RĂDUCANU

A surrealist 35mm incursion in a butcher's routine that echoes Orwell's Animal Farm, OMNIVORE proposes an unsettling perspective on human identity defined in relation to our instinctive side and latent beastliness. Choosing as subject a butcher/pig, LAURENȚIU RĂDUCANU builds a filmic discourse based on the investigation of the space, juxtaposing images of a battered farm and of a slaughter house in ruins – symmetrical and repetitive expressionist compositions in dark, morbid colors – that ends by undermining species’ differences, making it hard to tell the human apart from the animal. (BIEFF 2013)



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REBECCA. FILE (13', Romania, 2013)

Director: ILINCA STIHI & MIHNEA CHELARIU

Rebecca is a well-known name. From Daphne du Maurier to Hitchcock, she has had a seductive career that spans several art forms. But however famous her name might be, its significance invokes millenary interrogations. Rebecca is SHE, the woman, anima, the finitude or the permanent continuity, she is a question. This is why our cinematic approach added to this name, even from the film’s title, a full stop and an explanation. File. Dossier. Document. REBECCA. FILE has several layers of perception and interpretation. It does not give a conclusion. It’s made of several starting points pieced together. Thus, Rebecca becomes a formula. A magical or a mathematical one, that promises mystery. With several possible resolutions, depending on which way you approach it. Intellectually, humanly, emotionally, affectionately. File. A profile. The spectators are those who recompose it. The images, the sounds, the words contain it. (ILINCA STIHI & MIHNEA CHELARIU)



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THE BED IS BROKEN (24', Romania, 2013)

Director: RALUCA RĂCEAN GORGOS

With the support of:

Here is the toboggan… here's the prison for small children... a cat... a bunny... two stars in the sky... A lost childhood. Two children explore the dilapidated entrails of a deserted factory, looking for bits of scrap metal for money. Through a patient camera, the film follows the behaviour of the boys, in their struggle for survival, caught between a violent playground and a hostile workplace. Screened at IDFA Amsterdam 2013, “THE BED IS BROKEN works with subtlety, silence and an eerie visual sense. It gets you so close to these deprived kids, so much that the files they throw at each other hit you as well. Finally, the heart is broken as much as the whole world in which they live in.” (Alexandru Solomon, filmmaker and Festival Director, One World Romania)



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THE SCREAM (2', Moldova, 2012)

Director: MITOȘ MICLEUȘANU

The video THE SCREAM re-contextualizes and interprets Edvard Munch´s famous painting in the contemporary urban space. This symbolic painting expresses the trembling with anxiety on a margin of a fiord, where the artist felt the great scream in nature. By situating the idea of this painting in a different historical setting and in a different artistic form, MICLEUȘANU proposes a postmodernist approach. The concept of the video has as point of departure, as the artist points out, the impossibility to say anything about the meaning of life in a world where we have lost touch with each other. It also questions our own attitude towards the other’s despair, in an urbanscape where this mental state of alienation is ubiquitous. (Luciana Dumitru, BIEFF 2013)



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THE STAGES OF A DROWNING (6', Romania, 2013)

Director: ADINA MOCANU

A hypnotic piece of visual art, THE STAGES OF A DROWNING "seeks to explore a mental state created by the contrast between specialized and poetical language" (ADINA MOCANU). A medical text presenting the stages of drowning is juxtaposed to an abstract visual composition – depicting a treetop with quivering leaves and an artesian well – accompanied by a disturbing sound-design. Initially observational, the shots are stylized stage after stage through different filters and exposures as seen from the presumed subjective point of view of the drowning person, that gradually turns into the spectator's point of view. (Oana Ghera, BIEFF 2013)



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TRACKING HAPPINESS (11', Romania, 2009)

Director: MIRCEA CANTOR

With sensibility and intelligence, in TRACKING HAPPINESS CANTOR conceives a poetic imagery about the pursuit of happiness, subtly suggested through the choreography of seven women. Dressed in white, they walk around, at first in line, then in circles, on white sand, in a vast pristine space. Each one sweeps away the tracks of the woman before her, with a broom, only to leave her own footprints in the fine sand. This ceaseless laying and erasing of traces combined with a minimalist and mystical sound-design, as if outside of time and space, tells of how human beings (re)create an impermanent history of small things and magic. (Luciana Dumitru, BIEFF 2013)



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UP THE WIND (6', Romania, 2013)

Director: OANA ISABELLA SZANTO

An unsettling insight in the transition from life to death, Oana Isabella Szanto's UP THE WIND is a neo-impressionist rendering of a woman's encounter with her doppelganger, seen as an omen of death. The woman washes her clothes. On the other side of the pond she sees another woman, identical to her. So she runs into the forest to find her in a slow motion chase at the end of which she will come to face her own death. The mechanical, surreal sound of artificial breathing and that of the heartbeats overlapping those of the forest, as well as the often blurred or hyper-stylized glowing  images, convey a subjective vision, presumably that of a patient on the verge of death. 



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WONDERLAND (2', Romania, 2011)

Director: BARNA NÉMETHI & VLAD FENEŞAN

WONDERLAND shows quite a different Alice – a young woman, not innocent at all, but very sensual and full of mystery. Lonely and bored, she dances in front of the camera, moving in a nearly shamanic way. Like a witch, she performs some kind of ritual: she enshrouds herself in mist and smoke, turning back time, only to start everything over again in an eerie cycle. The unique acting space, inhabited by a giant flying fish and three inert mannequins, highlights the antithesis between ruin and the beauty’s simplicity. A surreal fashion movie, briskly paced and of exquisite cinematography, bearing the unmistakable signature of the filmmakers duo NÉMETHI and FENEŞAN. (Mihai Teodor, BIEFF 2013)