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VENICE 2008 Venice Days / Romania

Hooked hooks audience at its world premiere

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A prolific shorts filmmaker with a number of television projects to his name, Romanian director Adrian Sitaru’s enigmatic feature debut Hooked [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Adrian Sitaru
film profile
]
was very well received at its public screening today. The film is not only an engaging portrait of a couple on the possible brink of a break-up, but also an exercise in style – the entire film is shot in POV, alternating fluidly between the perspectives of the various characters.

On a fishing trip to the country, squabbling pair Mihai (Adrian Titieni) and Sweetie (Ioana Flora) accidentally hit the prostitute Ana (Maria Dinulescu) with their car. Initially convinced she is dead, Ana shockingly comes to in the middle of the woods as they try to decide what to do with the body. Seemingly unaware of what’s happened, Ana slowly insinuates her way into the couple’s lives, tipping the delicate balance of their emotional crisis.

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Economic and sparse, Sitaru took 16 drafts of the script and three years to make a film that he says was also influenced by Dogma. When asked why he chose not to deal with his country’s recent history, he commented, “I didn’t want to speak of my country’s political problems but to look at human behavior.”

DoP Adrian Silisteanu is a protagonist in his own right, with only a mini-DV camera at his disposal – no HD or 35mm camera could have handled 300 degrees of constant camera movement, which he had to choreograph with the actors.

Dinulescu added, “We rehearsed very, very much with the camera, every step we would take, because we could do absolutely no improvisation.” The fact that the project was virtually no-budget was not a problem, she said, joking that “we actors saw a very good script and didn’t ask for any money, nor was there any to give!”

Titieni closed the Q&A on a further lighthearted note: “My colleagues have said exactly what I feel and think, so all I can say is a big hello to Venice and the Lido and that I want to come back. So if someone here could help me with that, please do.”

Sitaru is currently developing his next film, a more personal story about his mother’s illness, as part of the Cinefondation Residence.

Hooked is produced by 4Proof Film (Romania) and Movie Partners in Motion Film (France), in co-production with Arte France Cinéma. It is being sold internationally by Rezo.

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