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Romanian cinema boldly embraces LGBT topics


- After a decade without any gay main characters in local features, two productions show that LGBT topics are not taboo in Romanian cinema

Romanian cinema boldly embraces LGBT topics
Production picture during the shooting of Soldiers

A decade has passed since Tudor Giurgiu released his first feature, Love Sick, which was shown in the Panorama sidebar of the Berlinale in 2006. Since the troubled love story between Alex (Ioana Barbu) and Kiki (Maria Popistaşu), Romanian directors have preferred not to venture onto the LGBT cinematic map, but in 2016, two productions show that such topics are ready to make a comeback.

The most promising production is Ivana Mladenovic’s first feature, Soldiers. A Story from Ferentari. Produced by HiFilm Productions and based on Adrian Schiop's autobiographical novel of the same name, Soldiers centres on Adi, an anthropologist who moves into the poor neighbourhood of Ferentari to write a PhD thesis about manele, the music of the Roma community. An obvious outsider, Adi will have many adventures in the neighbourhood, his life becoming even more complicated when he meets Alberto, a thirty-something gypsy who has spent half of his life in prison. An impossible love affair will blossom, making two very different worlds collide. Shooting started on 10 August, and the production is expected to wrap in mid-September. Mladenovic wrote the screenplay with Schiop, who also plays himself in the film.

The other production is an HBO mini-series, Silent Valley, directed by Marian Crişan (Horizon [+see also:
film review
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interview: Marian Crisan
film profile
, Morgen [+see also:
film profile
). An adaptation of Norwegian mini-series Eye Witness, Silent Valley follows two gay teenagers (newcomers Theodor Şoptelea and Vlad Bălan) who witness a murder while in the woods. As they want to keep their relationship a secret, they don’t tell the police what they saw, which complicates the investigation. Rodica Lazăr and Emilian Oprea play the detectives searching for the murderer. The screenplay was written by Cristian Barna. Silent Valley was shot over 48 days during the summer, and the release is expected this autumn.

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