Eighteen shorts in the Romanian Days competition at TIFF 2015
by Stefan Dobroiu
- The competition boasts an eclectic selection, from 3D films made in studios to animations and spectacular genre films
Eighteen short films, many of them shown as world premieres, were screened on Wednesday night in the Romanian Days sidebar of the Transilvania International Film Festival (29 May – 7 June, Cluj-Napoca). It was an important event for the future of Romanian cinema, as many newcomers presented some very interesting productions, a good omen that suggests that local films may soon become even more diverse and tackle new genres.
Among the stars of the show were Andrei Creţulescu’s Ramona, the recent winner of a Canal+ Award at Cannes, Adrian Sitaru’s Art (shown last year at Venice), Dorian Boguţă’s Vera and Gabriel Achim’s The Wedding Ring, but the eclectic selection of 18 titles with a combined running time of 317 minutes would make any programmer around the world proud.
Roxana Stroe’s Black Friday shows a man (Gabriel Spahiu) waiting in line for his food ration during communism. When the sellers run out of eggs and milk, he knows he has to do something in order to be the first in line the next day. An interesting, bloody and dark comedy produced by UNATC, the Romanian Film University.
0068 Sniper’s Nest is one of the most accomplished shorts, with a strong story and an unpredictable ending: during a world summit in Bucharest, an army sniper (the new darling of Romanian cinema, Cuzin Toma) is planted in the apartment of a paralysed woman. A conversation with her will change the sniper’s life forever in this intense short by Radu Bărbulescu.
Ana-Maria Comănescu explores alienation in her black-and-white drama In the House, the story of a young man who arrives at a party after witnessing a fatal car accident. Among the darker shorts there is Radu Potcoavă’s The Message, the story of a teenager who sees a man (Emilian Oprea) killing three small-time gangsters and who then receives a piece of advice to remember. Andrei Tănase’s atmospheric Summer Break shows two teenage cousins pulling a prank on their grandparents’ village by making crop circles on a neighbour’s land. Lucian Dan Teodorovici’s Crickets portrays a man about to commit suicide before two burglars block him on his balcony. Maybe they will steal his possessions, but they also leave him a gift.
As flawed as its English title, Mihai Ionescu’s satire “The Cork” Justifies the Means comes with a tour de force in terms of its production effort: shot in its entirety in the Castel Film studios near Bucharest, it creates a city from scratch, showing a dystopian world where a fat man stuck in a manhole is not saved because the authorities lack “procedures” for his rescue. It is the first ever short in 3D in Romania (albeit shown in 2D at TIFF).
Matei Branea’s Omulan!, Alexandru Ranta’s Pavel, Tudor Botezatu’s The Big Boys, Marius Olteanu’s Tie, Andreea Vălean’s There Is Nothing in This World, Anton Groves’ Lag and Conrad Mericoffer’s Casting Call round off the selection.
The jury (Chicago programmer Mimi Plauché, Serbian producer Miroslav Mogorovic and San Sebastian programmer Roberto Cueto) will announce the winner of the Best Short Film Award during a gala on Saturday.