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TRANSILVANIA 2024

The Transilvania International Film Festival brings together 34 features in its three main competitions

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- 13 of the 22 titles to be presented in the two international feature competitions are European productions, while 12 other features participate in Romanian Days

The Transilvania International Film Festival brings together 34 features in its three main competitions
Where Elephants Go by Cătălin Rotaru and Gabi Virginia Șarga

“Intimate dramas, absurd comedies, unconventional melodramas and family chronicles of different calibres, with a slight predilection for stories of young people at crossroads,” as defined by artistic director Mihai Chirilov, will lock horns in the Official Competition of the 23rd Transilvania International Film Festival (14-24 June), dedicated to first- and second-time directors. They all “tell stories about atypical characters, their reactions to social pressures, and the need for connection, affirmation or independence,” adds Chirilov.

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It turns out that only five among the 12 titles in the section are European productions: Dutch filmmaker Joren Molter’s sharp debut, Summer Brother, about a seemingly hopeless family in which the youngest son is forced to grow up suddenly to save himself; the Swedish satire The Hypnosis [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Asta Kamma August
interview: Ernst De Geer
film profile
]
by Ernst De Geer, about a perfect couple whose marital balance is ruined after a hypnosis session that eliminates their inhibitions; Catalonian debutante Laura Ferrés’s winner of the 68th Seminci – Valladolid International Film Festival, The Permanent Picture [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Laura Ferrés
film profile
]
, which blends comedy, realism and melodrama; the French fairy tale The Dreamer [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Anaïs Tellenne
film profile
]
by Anaïs Tellenne, about art's unforeseen power; and the only Romanian film in the Official Competition (also a contender in the Romanian Days programme), the black-humoured melodrama Where Elephants Go by Cătălin Rotaru and Gabi Virginia Șarga, homing in on the friendship between a feisty nine-year-old girl and a young homeless man.

On the other hand, European titles are prevalent in the What's Up, Doc? Competition, which, for the third year running, proposes an extension of the idea of documentary, bringing together classic formats, hybrids and even fiction cleverly disguised in the verité aesthetics of the genre. David Boaretto’s April in France follows a five-year-old girl moving to a medieval French village post-lockdown, turning her nightmare into a magical experience; Echo of You [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
by Zara Zerny features Danish octogenarians discussing love, fidelity and loss; while German filmmakers Hans Block and Moritz Riesewieck’s Eternal You [+see also:
film review
interview: Hans Block, Moritz Riesewieck
film profile
]
explores mourning through digital clones of lost loved ones. Adriano Valerio documents a seven-year love story between an illegal Moroccan in Italy and a former addict from a wealthy family in Casablanca, similarly to Romanian filmmaker Isabela Tent, who chronicles ten years in the life of a girl who becomes a mother at 16 in Alice On&Off [+see also:
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, also competing in the Romanian Days section. Another complex coming-of-age story is captured in the Hungarian title KIX [+see also:
film review
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by Bálint Révész and Dávid Mikulán, who follow 12 years in the life of a troubled boy in Budapest. The Czech effort La Reine by Nikola Klinger is an experimental essay on memory, focusing on a drug addict living on a former lavender farm; in Glass, My Unfulfilled Life [+see also:
film review
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]
, Dutch newcomer Rogier Kappers constructs a hilarious self-portrait focusing on the life-long search for fame and self-approval; and finally, Danger Zone [+see also:
film review
interview: Vita Maria Drygas
film profile
]
by Polish director Vita Maria Drygas delves into agencies selling holidays in conflict zones for thrill-seeking tourists.

The Romanian Days competition this year showcases 12 features, five of which are world premieres: Claudiu Mitcu’s Rusalka, featuring world-famous local actress Maia Morgenstern, follows five friends revisiting a seaside resort (see the news); Mihnea Toma’s Family Weekend reconstructs family discussions on sexual orientation; Andrei Răuțu’s Night Butterflies features a director obsessed with a pop star; George ve Gänæaard and Horia Cucută’s Dismissed investigates a corporation’s cover-up of an employee’s death; and Andrei Crețulescu’s bloody thriller Ext. Car – Night combines elements of Romanian youth adventures with the suspense of The Twilight Zone (see the news). Furthermore, the section includes the freshly Cannes-premiered gay drama Three Kilometres to the End of the World [+see also:
film review
interview: Emanuel Pârvu
film profile
]
by Emanuel Pârvu, focusing on a teenager grappling with harsh truths; the Kafkaesque narrative of proving one's existence A Cautionary Tale by Ilinca Călugăreanu; Andrei Cohn’s Berlinale Forum title Holy Week [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Andrei Cohn
film profile
]
, based on the writings of IL Caragiale, and drawing on racism and antisemitism; Alexandra Gulea’s Maia – Portrait with Hands, which reconstructs a grandmother's life; and Ana-Maria Comănescu’s Horia, about a teenager's motorcycle journey (see the news).

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