The Miracle of Tekir: a mysterious, almost magical film
by Giorgia Del Don
- Romanian-Swiss director Ruxandra Zenide’s latest creation, which reawakens the most distant and primitive of feelings, had its world premiere at this year’s Zurich Film Festival
Ten years on from her debut film Ryna [+see also:
film profile] (which was screened at a number of film festivals and won prestigious prizes such as the special jury prize at the International Film Festival Mannheim-Heidelberg and the FIPRESCI prize at the Geneva International Film Festival Tous Écrans), Ruxandra Zenide presented The Miracle of Tekir [+see also:
film profile], a mysterious, almost magical film that reawakens the most distant and primitive of feelings at the Zurich Film Festival.
The Miracle of Tekir pays tribute to a land nestled in the heart of the Danube that jealously guards ancestral secrets mixing superstition and religion, dreams and reality. It’s in this very region, Tekir, that the story of Mara unfolds (played by the magnificent Dorotheea Petre), an unmarried healer who mysteriously falls pregnant. Her extraordinary Ayurvedic gifts have already made the inhabitants of the little village she lives in suspicious of her, and this latest ‘miracle’ literally proves to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. Banished from the small but stubborn community, Maria is forced to escape, to abandon her old life and identity. With the help of the village priest, she finds work at the lavish ‘Europa’ spa, a sort of Viscontian vision on a cliff overlooking the sea that uses the sacred mud of the Danube to treat fertility problems.
But Mara’s mud, which seems to gush from the very bowels of a silent and wild land, is different, special, a sort of miraculous amniotic fluid that soothes not only the body but the spirit too. Mrs Lili, a rich and eccentric pensioner visiting the spa in the hope of once again becoming fertile, soon realises this and decides to entrust herself solely to Mara. The culture shock between the two women is explosive, causing uncontrollable sparks that bounce crazily off the muddy surface of Mara’s well. All that is certain, Lili’s arrogance and Mara’s blind devotion, are called into question in the two women’s desperate quest for a solution to their problems. Theirs will be a journey to the edge of reality, where rationale meets magic, leading them to experience a charming mix of strange feelings and pure freedom.
In the same way that Mara’s miraculous mud is spread over the fertile wounded body, Aïsha Devi’s alluring music winds through Ruxandra Zenide’s shots, creating an unsettling and powerful musical subtext. A perfect and rare marriage of images and music.
The Miracle of Tekir speaks to our irrational side, urging us to free our imaginations, too often curbed by repetitive everyday routine. Ruxandra Zenide’s second film, a story with one foot in the West and one foot in the East, opens our eyes to a mysterious reality that is closer than we think, making us want to dive with Mara into the miraculous well of Tekir. Captivating and profound, almost abyssal.
The Miracle of Tekir is being released worldwide by Filmcoopi Zürich.