Tuesday leads huge wave of domestic films
by Stefan Dobroiu
01/10/2010 - Released on September 17 by Voodoo Films on eight local screens, Tuesday, After Christmas [trailer, film focus] is the first of more than 10 Romanian titles hitting domestic theatres over the next two months. Radu Muntean's fourth feature registered 3,500 admissions its opening weekend, faring better than Federico Bondi’s Italian/Romanian co-production Mar Nero [trailer].
Starring Italy's Ilaria Occhini and local name Dorotheea Petre (How I Spent the End of the World [trailer]) as an elderldy woman and her Romanian maid, respectively, Mar Nero was released by Parada Film on three cinemas and has been seen by only 313 viewers.
September 24 saw the release of Wedding in Bessarabia, the second feature by Nap Toader, formerly known as Napoleon Helmis (Italiencele, 2004). The comedy, which received the Special Jury Prize at the 2010 Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, centres on a young couple who, after having a wedding party in Romania, decide to organize another in the bride’s hometown of Chisinau, making two very different worlds collide. Released on nine screens by Film Romania Association, the feature drew only 973 admissions its opening weekend.
This weekend, Mandragora will release Morgen [trailer], winner of four prizes at the recent Locarno International Film Festival. Directed by Palme d'Or winner Marian Crisan, Morgen is set on the Romanian-Hungarian border. Nelu (András Hatházi), a supermarket security guard and passionate fisherman, finds an illegal Kurdish immigrant hiding in the river near town and must decide what to do with him.
Another festival darling, Calin Netzer's Medal of Honor [trailer] (see review), is scheduled by Parada Film for a November 12 release. November 26 will welcome two more domestic releases: Cristi Puiu's Aurora [trailer] and Corneliu Gheorghita's Europolis.
Included in the Un Certain Regard sidebar at this year's Cannes Film Festival, Puiu's third feature could be the riskiest release of 2010: long, quiet and absurd, the film will surely put audiences to the test. It is also part of the Mandragora line-up.
Little known domestically, the French/Romanian Europolis was awarded a Special Mention at the most recent Montreal International Film Festival. This fantastic dramedy about a Romanian mother and son who travel to France to collect money left by a dead relative stars Adriana Trandafir and Aron Dimeny. The director's company Cornel Gheorghita Film handles distribution.
Other expected autumn releases include Alexandru Maftei's debut feature Hello, How Are You? [trailer], pseudo-documentary The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceauşescu [trailer] by Andrei Ujica, and Constantin Popescu's Portrait of the Fighter as a Young Man.
Warmly received at the Transylvania International Film Festival, light comedy Hello, How Are You? has the makings of a box office hit: witty dialogue, a good cast and familiar topics could prove to be this year's best attempt at domestic commercial cinema. The distributor is Rollin Studio Romania.
Nicolae Ceauşescu premiered this year at Cannes and could be released by Voodoo Films in December, while Fighter (Parada Film), included in the Forum sidebar at the 2010 Berlinale, may enjoy a limited release in November.