Romania shines at Cannes

27th May 2007, Comments 0 comments

CANNES, France, May 27, 2007 (AFP) - Romania's fledgling cinema, a rising star in European film, snatched the spotlight at Cannes, dishing up a frontrunner for the festival's coveted Palme d'Or on Sunday and taking home the A prize in a prestigious sidebar competition.

CANNES, France, May 27, 2007 (AFP) - Romania's fledgling cinema, a rising star in European film, snatched the spotlight at Cannes, dishing up a frontrunner for the festival's coveted Palme d'Or on Sunday and taking home the A prize in a prestigious sidebar competition.

With only 10 to 15 films produced annually, accounting for a bare four percent of tickets sold at home, Romania's new generation of directors, trained at the country's sole film school, are relative newcomers to the scene.

But film festivals have been paying increasing attention to the eastern European country's young directors in the last years.

At this year's 12-day Cannes filmfest, "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days", a devastating tale of backstreet abortions and daily despair during communist-era Romania, has wowed critics to become a leading favourite among the 22 films competing for the Palme.

A low-budget movie produced with less than 600,000 euros (808,000 dollars), it is 39-year-old director Cristian Mungiu's third feature.

Industry bible Variety called it "pitch perfect and brilliantly acted" and commended the director for "purity and honesty."

His "Occident" --  about Romania's rocky road from the Soviet bloc to the West -- was warmly received at Cannes in 2002 in the parallel Director's Fortnight section.

 *sidebar1*On Saturday, the festival's sidebar section called Un Certain Regard, focusing on new upcoming directorial talent, handed its top prize to another Romanian feature -- "California dreamin'" by Cristian Nemescu, who tragically died in a car accident last year aged 27, before totally completing the film.

"It is by far the liveliest and most free film idea we have seen here," said French filmmaker Pascale Ferran, on handing out the award.

The film is set in a small Romanian village in 1999, during the war in Kosovo, when a US-guarded NATO train transporting equipment but not carrying official documents is stopped by the railway station chief -- also a gangster.

Only two years ago another Romanian movie, "The Death of Mr Lazarescu" by Cristi Puiu, dubbed one of the year's 10 best films by the New York Times, also won the Un Certain Regard prize.

And last year a first feature by Corneliu Porumboiu, "12:08 East of Bucharest" won the festival's Golden Camera prize for best first film.

"There has been lots of interest in our films, which range from fiction to animation, mostly from Europeans," said Andreea Tanase of the Romanian National Film Centre.

"It's been magnificent for us. We're delighted by the reaction to our films here," Tanase told AFP.

Romanian films have been snapped up this fest for a number of influential international film festivals including one in Turkey, one in Marrakech, Morocco, and in Paris.

It is also been a hugely positive 12 days for co-productions.

"Romania now has several co-production projects in the pipeline, partly thanks to the hugely positive response to its well-crafted films that include '4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days'," said Tanase.


Copyright AFP

Subject: French news, Festival de Cannes

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