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CANNES 2006 Un Certain Regard / Romania

Mitulescu and the end of Ceausescu’s dictatorship

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Catalin Mitulescu, winner of the Golden Palm for Best Short in Cannes in 2003, got off to a good start this afternoon with her new feature, The Way I Spent the End of the World [+see also:
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, which charmed audiences at its screening in Un Certain Regard. The film, a French/Romanian co-production backed by Eurimages, is set in the Romania of 1989, in a world frozen by the Ceausescu dictatorship, and follows the lives of a young 17 year-old girl (Dorotheea Petre) and her seven year-old brother.

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With the national anthem sung on numerous occasions, and its depiction of everyday problems in a rundown neighbourhood, in terms of both the authorities and punishment for crimes, The Way I Spent the End of the World gives an intimate account of history.

Sent home from school for having accidentally broken the bust of the country’s tyrant, the film’s heroine, a teenager grappling with her emotions, ends up in reformatory camp and then decides to flee the country, while her younger brother is cooking up a plan to kill Ceausescu with his friends.

A sensitive film that fairly depicts all generations, The Way I Spent the End of the World skilfully respects the conventions of tragic-comedy by painting a picture filled with subtle touches and restrained camerawork, including several scenes shot with a hand-held camera.

Voted Best European Film at the 2005 Sundance festival, Mitalescu’s film confirms the emergence of a filmmaker from whom we have certainly not heard the last.

A 67% production by Romanian outfit Strada Films, The Way I Spent the End of the World received co-production funding from France’s Films Pelléas, for a total budget total of €1.6m, including €240,000 from Eurimages and a pre-sales agreement from Canal +.

The film will be distributed in France by Pyramide, who is also handling international sales.

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(Translated from French)

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