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PRODUCTION / FUNDING Romania / Czech Republic / Latvia

Bogdan George Apetri will soon conjure a Miracle

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- The Romanian director is putting the finishing touches to his third feature, an independent film that he shot before the pandemic

Bogdan George Apetri will soon conjure a Miracle
Ioana Bugarin in Miracle

After his feature debut, Outbound [+see also:
trailer
interview: Ana Ularu
film profile
]
(2010), it took US-based Romanian director Bogdan George Apetri almost a decade to finish his second feature, Unidentified [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
(2019), but he is certainly not waiting that long for his third effort: Miracle, an independent film that he shot before the pandemic, will soon wrap post-production. The project is being staged by Apetri and Oana Iancu through their new production company The East Company Productions (Romania). The co-production companies are Cineart TV Prague (Czech Republic), represented by Viktor Schwarcz, and Tasse Film (Latvia), represented by Aija Bērziņa.

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The screenplay, written by Apetri, follows Cristina (Ioana Bugarin), a 19-year-old nun, as she finds herself at a crossroads in her life. We see her sneaking out of her monastery in order to attend to an urgent matter at a hospital in the nearby city. Unable to solve her problem, she returns in the evening only to meet an unexpected fate on the way back. Later on, we meet a policeman, Marius (Emanuel Pârvu), who is in charge of her case and will retrace her exact steps in his investigation.

The budget of Miracle amounts to circa €450,000. The producers did not apply for funding from the Romanian National Film Center, but the project did receive financial support from the Czech Film Fund. The film was shot before the pandemic in Bucharest and the city of Piatra Neamţ, with Oleg Mutu serving as DoP. Supporting characters are played by Cezar Antal, Ovidiu Crişan, Valeriu Andriuţă and Valentin Popescu.

Producer Oana Iancu tells Cineuropa that the shoot may have escaped the complications caused by the pandemic, but the post-production did not. As the director lives in New York and the post-production was taken care of in the Czech Republic, the various health-and-safety regulations governing travel to and from both countries repeatedly delayed the post-production stages.

Bogdan George Apetri says that his film does not try to present a realistic view of the world in opposition with one based on faith. “The story of nun Cristina Tofan and of policeman Marius Preda is not a thesis in which a statement is attempted in either direction, but rather a straightforward starting point towards a mysterious, valid, unique and unrepeatable terminus in each spectator’s soul,” the director explains. “The story works perfectly well either if experienced from the pragmatic angle of viewers for whom faith means nothing or – on the contrary – if it is perceived from a religious, supernatural and ultimately immaterial perspective. The film does not seek to answer questions or impose certain assumptions, but rather chooses to allow the viewer to reach a final point on his or her own, to achieve a personal, internal and – above all – unique emotional closure,” Apetri adds.

Miracle will be delivered within a week, but a domestic release is fairly uncertain, as cinemas in Romania are currently either closed or open based on a rather arbitrary rule: they are shuttered as soon as the COVID-19 transmission rate exceeds three cases per 1,000 inhabitants in a city and can open as soon as the rate falls below this threshold.

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