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PRODUCTION / FUNDING Romania

Daniel Sandu breaks new ground in Romanian cinema with The Father Who Moves Mountains

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- The film, starring Adrian Titieni, centres on a father who causes havoc in order to save his son, who is lost in the mountains

Daniel Sandu breaks new ground in Romanian cinema with The Father Who Moves Mountains
Adrian Titieni in The Father Who Moves Mountains

Following his feature debut, One Step Behind the Seraphim [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Daniel Sandu
film profile
]
(2017), and HBO show Tuff Money (2020), Romanian director Daniel Sandu changes pace and scope with the action film The Father Who Moves Mountains [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, which will world-premiere at the impending Shanghai International Film Festival (11-20 June). Shot over the course of three winters, the film is being staged by Romania’s Mobra Films, with Tudor Reu serving as executive producer, and co-produced by Film i Väst and Filmgate Films as well as Romania’s Mindset Productions, The Cinema Studio of the Ministry of Culture and Romanian National Television.

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The screenplay, written by Sandu himself, is inspired by real-life events and focuses on Mircea (Adrian Titieni), a retired intelligence officer in his fifties, who finds out that his son from a previous marriage has gone missing in the mountains. Mircea hurries there, hoping that his son will be found alive and well, but the protagonist is increasingly disgruntled by the search efforts and soon decides to take the matter into his own hands.

The budget amounts to approximately €1.8 million, which makes The Father Who Moves Mountains one of the most expensive Romanian films to date. The project received circa €480,000 from the Romanian National Film Center and is also being supported by Creative Europe – MEDIA. Supporting characters are played by Valeriu Andriuţă (Beyond the Hills [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Cosmina Stratan
interview: Cristian Mungiu
interview: Cristian Mungiu
interview: Cristian Mungiu
film profile
]
), Judith State (Sieranevada [+see also:
film review
trailer
Q&A: Cristi Puiu
film profile
]
), Tudor Smoleanu (Graduation [+see also:
film review
trailer
Q&A: Cristian Mungiu
interview: Cristian Mungiu
film profile
]
), Elena Purea and Radu Botar. Tudor Vladimir Panduru was the DoP. The Father Who Moves Mountains previously received development awards at Transilvania Pitch Stop (2014) and the Les Arcs Coproduction Village (2016).

Tudor Reu tells Cineuropa that the project is “perhaps the most action-y film ever made in Romania”, involving helicopters, drones and as many as 30 stuntmen during a very elaborate shoot that was nearing completion when the lockdown stopped everything in its tracks in March 2020. A mountain cabin was built from scratch, and its interiors were later recreated in a studio. Also rare for a Romanian film, the feature has an elaborate score composed by Petre Ioan Bog.

Adding to the producer’s comment that “The Father Who Moves Mountains is one of those films to be enjoyed on a screen that is as big as possible”, Sandu says that he is a promoter of a “maximalist” (as opposed to “minimalist”, a word that is often used when discussing Romanian films) cinema. Describing his sophomore directorial effort as “audience-orientated”, the director adds: “With every film I make, I try to tell a story able to keep the audience holding their breath.”

Voodoo Films will release the movie domestically this summer.

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