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PRODUCTION Romania

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Finishing touches for The Self-Portrait of a Dutiful Daughter

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- Ana Lungu’s independent debut feature will end post-production in December

Finishing touches for The Self-Portrait of a Dutiful Daughter
The Self-Portrait of a Dutiful Daughter by Ana Lungu

Ana Lungu’s first feature, The Self-Portrait of a Dutiful Daughter [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, will be finished by the end of the year, following a difficult, independent production. The project is staged by Mandragora, with Anca Puiu and Lungu as producers. The film’s budget is estimated at approximately €500,000, but the amount spent is actually much smaller, as the production was helped along by a number of services provided by Papillion Film, Castel Film and Cinelabs.

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The screenplay is written by Lungu and follows Cristiana (Elena Popa), a 30-year-old woman who is enjoying her newfound independence now that her parents have moved out of their apartment. Now Cristiana has the freedom to experiment – and that she does, adopting a dog and embarking on an affair with a married man (Emilian Oprea). 

Lungu told Cineuropa that the screenplay is inspired by her life and the strong relationship she has with her parents. The director’s approach started to draw parallels with the documentary genre as she cast her own parents, Dan and Magdalena Lungu, in the roles of the main character’s mother and father, mixing the professional actors with several non-professionals. “I like to work with amateurs because they haven’t practised how to control themselves in front of the camera, so they expose themselves more, with all the defects that make them more alive, more humane,” said Lungu.

Shooting took place in November and December 2013, with additional shooting days this August. The film’s DoP is Silviu Stavilă, and Dana Bunescu (The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceauşescu [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
) is in charge of editing. Post-production will end in December.

Mandragora is in negotiations with a Romanian distributor for a domestic release next year, hopefully after a selection at a major film festival.

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