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FESTIVALS Romania

Elevator biggest local hit at TIFF

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Elevator biggest local hit at TIFF

The Romanian Days sidebar of this year’s Transylvania International Film Festival (TIFF) proved to be a good showcase for the recent crop of local films. Although 2008 set a record – 11 Romanian new features screened in the section – there were no big festival winners in this year’s program.

Only Radu Muntean’s medium-rated Boogie [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Dragos Vîlcu
interview: Radu Muntean
film profile
]
, Thomas Ciulei’s The Flower Bridge and Alexandru Solomon’s Cold Waves had an international reputation before the festival.

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Yet local and foreign audiences were in for a surprise when Gabriel Dorobanţu’s indie film Elevator (made for just €200) screened to a full house in Cluj-Napoca. Shot by an unknown director-cinematographer with two unknown actors, Elevator nevertheless enthralled audiences with a tense relationship between two teenagers (Iulia Verdes and Cristi Petrescu) trapped in the broken elevator of a deserted factory.

The film seems to be the most interesting Romanian revelation of the year so far, with Moldovan director Igor Cobileanski’s mediocre TV comedy Tache, Anca Damian’s much-delayed debut Crossing Dates and veteran Radu Gabrea’s Gruber’s Journey unlikely to make any impact on the international market. Not to mention flops like Marilena by Mircea Daneliuc, a fading star of the 1980s generation of filmmakers.

Buzz may come, however, from upcoming festivals about Horatiu Malaele’s Silent Wedding and Peter Strickland’s Katalin Varga, whose world premieres should have taken place at TIFF but were postponed.

Although there is still a lot of room for improvement, the level of Romanian cinema on the whole has risen significantly, making the line between award-winning domestic films and other local movies much thinner than it has been for years.

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