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Valentin Hotea in the final stages of post-production with Lebensdorf


- A dramedy about a writer in the midst of a midlife crisis, the film also explores the trauma of a divorce

Valentin Hotea in the final stages of post-production with Lebensdorf
Mimi Brănescu in Lebensdorf

Romanian director Valentin Hotea is currently putting the finishing touches to his second feature, Lebensdorf, a drama about a 45-year-old writer facing a midlife crisis. The film is being staged by HiFilm Productions, with Ada Solomon and Diana Păroiu serving as producers. The project is being co-produced by Romanian outfits Chainsaw Europe Studio, Abis Studio, Production XMG Media and Scharf Film Production.

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The screenplay, written by Ileana Muntean and Hotea, follows Ducu Dobrescu (Mimi Brănescu), a 45-year-old writer who leaves Bucharest to be part of a creative residency in Berlin. Ducu swings between two countries and two women: Andra (Ioana Flora), his hot-tempered wife, who wants a divorce, and Giulia (Ana Covalciuc), Ducu’s old flame from his youth, who lives in Lebensdorf, an ecovillage in Germany. Several events and misadventures help Ducu decide on how he wants to move on.

The film's budget amounts to €1.2 million, with approximately one-third of this amount coming from the Romanian National Film Center. The project also received support from the European Union’s Creative Europe MEDIA programme and Romanian National Television. Lebensdorf was shot over six weeks in the summer and autumn of 2019, in Bucharest, Berlin and the Sieben Linden ecovillage in Germany. The DoP is Alexandru Solomon, and Dana Bunescu is in charge of editing.

The director describes his feature as a "sweet’n’sour comedy" about emotional immaturity, indecision and a lack of responsibility. "I look with light irony and understanding at my character as he goes through this phase of life," Hotea says in a statement. As for the approach, "the film not only follows his sentimental journey in a realistic manner, but it also plunges into the depths of his inner world and his anguished subconscious. While it mostly makes use of a rough stylistic [approach], characteristic of the pseudo-documentary genre, there are also some dream-like, nightmarish and even poetic moments throughout the film."

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