Radu Jude prepares to shoot Balkan Western Aferim!
by Stefan Dobroiu
- The €1.4 million period drama revolves around the hunt for a Gypsy slave in 19th-century Romania
Radu Jude is in the final stages of pre-production for his third feature, Aferim!, which will start shooting in June. The HiFilm production is a period drama with a budget of €1.4 million, and with support from the Romanian National Film Center, Eurimages, the MEDIA Programme and the Bulgarian National Film Center. This week, the project received a grant of €180,000 from the North Rhine-Westphalia Film Fund.
Aferim! has been written by Jude together with Florin Lăzărescu and is set in the 19th century, a time when Gypsy slavery was common in Romania. The story revolves around a local policeman, Costandin, who is hired by a local boyar to find Carfin, a Gypsy slave who had run away from the boyar's estate after having an affair with his wife. Accompanied by his teenage son and his deputy, Ghiţă, Costandin sets out to find the fugitive, beginning a journey full of adventures.
Aferim! (a Turkish word which means “Bravo!”) may prove controversial in Romania, a country which is struggling to solve the problem of how to integrate minorities into society. Although historians have thoroughly confirmed the existence of Gypsy slavery for as many as seven centuries in the country’s history, it is not a very popular topic in modern times. According to Jude, the film may generate healthy debate not only on racism, but also on the Romanian woman's role in present-day society.
The film seems perfectly designed for a world premiere in the Berlinale competition, two years after HiFilm Productions won the Golden Bear for Călin Peter Netzer's Child's Pose [+see also:
interview: Calin Peter Netzer
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