Radu Muntean • Director
"My recent films are about loneliness"
- Interview in Bucharest with the Romanian director who analyses his fourth feature, Tuesday, After Christmas, just before its presentation at Cannes.
Cineuropa: Which part of filmmaking do you like most? Writing the script, pre-production, shooting? Or answering questions about the film or perhaps the first full-house screening?
Radu Muntean: By no means answering questions. Otherwise, every step gives me a certain type of satisfaction.
Do you have a problem with saying “Cut”? Why did you use such long shots in Tuesday, After Christmas [+see also:
interview: Radu Muntean
I like long shots, but that doesn't mean that I'm going to use them in all my movies from now on. If they are well planned and balanced, if the directing is discreet and well suited to the sequence, if the actors are convincing, long takes involve a certain tension, which can accumulate as the film nears the end. The strings with which the director-puppeteer controls the story become invisible and the film can achieve fluency and at the same time intensity. I don't do this because I'm lazy or because I do not want to make a shooting script, most times it is really hard to make a sequence shot. Of course, it's important to have the right measure and the viewer should not feel that the takes are too long.
The first sequence in Tuesday, After Christmas is one of the freest and most beautiful (and in the same time deceiving!) sequences in recent Romanian cinema. How did you prepare it? What indications did you give Maria Popistasu and Mimi Branescu?
Mimi and Maria are intelligent actors and they understood immediately, as soon as they finished the script, why this intimate sequence is so necessary and why it should be shot without reservations. I’d be lying if I said they weren’t afraid of it, but we rehearsed a lot and we knew everything that had to be done. So they felt free and relaxed and I think it shows on screen. I was not interested in making an erotic scene, but an intimate one.
In your movies the characters are never alone, or if they are, they talk on the telephone. And you write with Alexandru Baciu and Razvan Radulescu. Are you afraid of solitude?
Yeah, but I have a teddy bear and that helps a lot. On a certain level, my two most recent movies are about loneliness. I think that people can be lonely without actually being alone and that's even sadder than, let's call it classic loneliness, you and the four walls. Writing with Alex and Razvan has nothing to do with fearing loneliness, we simply write well together.
I considered Boogie [+see also:
interview: Dragos Vîlcu
interview: Radu Muntean
film profile] "scary" because it was a warning about an inevitable threshold for the 30-something generation, the feeling of loss you experience at the end of your youth. Do you consider Tuesday, After Christmas a “Boogie: Five Years Later”? What do you think about Paul's choice?
In Paul's case, there is no good choice. A part of him breaks whichever direction he chooses. And I don't think Tuesday, After Christmas is a film about age, but about a certain kind of restlessness. That kind of restlessness you feel when you get something you've been yearning for for a long time, and as soon as you get it you yearn for something else....
In your opinion, what is the biggest disadvantage to making movies in Romania. What about the advantages?
Our films are not seen by so many people. For several reasons – infrastructure, TV, piracy, a preference for entertaining films – Romanians do not come to cinema. The advantage is that as yet there is no concept of the intrusive producer, the one that doesn't let the director do his job. I for one I have the freedom to make the movie I want and be completely responsible for the result.
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