Strong Romanian presence in Locarno
by Stefan Dobroiu
15/07/2011 - Two Romanian productions and one Italian-Romanian co-production were announced in the competition of this year's Locarno International Film Festival, which will run from August 3-13. After France, Switzerland and US, Romania is the most represented country in the run for the festival's main prize, the Golden Leopard.
The most eagerly awaited title is Adrian Sitaru's (Hooked [trailer, film focus]) second feature, Best Intentions. Produced by HiFilm, Cor Leonis Films and 4Proof Film and starring Bogdan Dumitrache, Natasa Raab and Marian Ralea, and written, directed and produced by Sitaru (photo), this is the story of Alex, a successful young man who must deal with the unexpected illness of his mother. With an estimated budget of €750,000, of which €135,000 came from the Romanian National Film Centre and €110,000 from Eurimages, Best Intentions will be released domestically in autumn, through Parada Film. Sitaru already won a Golden Leopard in 2007, with his acclaimed short Waves.
The second Romanian production in the festival's competition is Crulic - The Path to Beyond, Anca Damian's animated documentary about the last two months in the life of Claudiu Crulic, whose tragic death lead to a diplomatic scandal between Romania and Poland in 2008. Thirty-three-year old Crulic worked illegally in Poland when he was accused of stealing the wallet of an important Polish judge. Arrested with no evidence and sent to prison, the young man was abandoned by the Romanian authorities and, in protest, he went on hunger strike which lead to his death in January 2008.
Crulic - The Path to Beyond uses several animation techniques including stop-motion animation, and describes the last two months of Crulic's life through interviews with the young man's family, doctors and prison guards who met Crulic in Warsaw. Crulic himself is brought back to life to comment on his last moments in a voiceover by Romanian actor Vlad Ivanov (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days [trailer, film focus]). Written and directed by Damian, the film is produced by Aparte Film and Poland's Magellan Film Foundation. Local distributor Independenta Film will release it domestically in autumn.
The first feature by the brothers Gianluca and Massimiliano De Serio, Seven Acts of Mercy, also has a shot at the Golden Leopard. Starring Italy's Roberto Herlitzka and Romania's Olimpia Melinte this story about emigration was produced by Italy's La Sarraz Pictures and Romania's Elefant Film. The film centres on Luminita, a young Romanian woman who lives illegally in Torino. A social outcast, she has a new chance for a better life when she starts taking care of a terminally ill Italian man, Antonio.