Aferim! has best debut in 13 years
by Stefan Dobroiu
- Why Me? and Aferim! make this March one of the best months of the last 25 years for Romanian cinema
Radu Jude’s Aferim! [+see also:
interview: Radu Jude
film profile], winner of the Silver Bear for Best Director at this year’s Berlinale, has had the best opening weekend of the last 13 years for a Romanian film. With 20,039 admissions, it bested films like Tudor Giurgiu’s Why Me? [+see also:
interview: Tudor Giurgiu
film profile] (19,924 admissions), Călin Peter Netzer’s Child’s Pose [+see also:
interview: Calin Peter Netzer
film profile] (19,729) and Cristina Iacob’s #Selfie [+see also:
film profile] (12,648). Nevertheless, Aferim! didn’t manage to top the success of Garcea şi oltenii, a comedy released in 2002 that took 34,000 admissions during its first weekend and 252,000 admissions in total.
Jude’s film was helped not only by its Berlinale award, some effective promotion and an impressive number of screenings in the presence of the production team, but also by the interesting debate surrounding its social and political themes. Aferim! has become one of the most talked-about cultural topics discussed in the Romanian press since the Berlinale.
In any case, Romania is still far from having a domestic release at the top of the box-office charts: released on 55 screens, Aferim! was only the fifth most popular film of the week, after Cinderella [+see also:
film profile], Run All Night, Focus and The Cobbler.
In terms of the popularity of domestic releases, this month is turning out to be one of the best of the last few decades: Why Me? has already been seen by 42,000 Romanians since its debut on 27 February. The combined popularity of Giurgiu’s and Jude’s films shows not only that the audience is curious about the new genres and topics tackled by local cinema, but also that spring, and not autumn, may be the best season for a domestic release. Nevertheless, approximately 15 local productions are expected to be released next autumn in Romania.