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21-01-2008
Cristian Munguiu at the Kustendorf Film Festival


There Is No Romanian Film School

Romanian director Cristian Munguiu, who got the Golden Palm at the last year’s Cannes Film Festival for his release ‘4 Months, 3 weeks, 2 Days’, had a workshop after the projection of this movie within the Kustendorf Film Festival on Mecavnik, right before the closing ceremony. As he mentioned, one year before triumph in Cannes he had not even had a screenplay for the movie: ‘I already knew the story. When I’ve written the first version of the script, I have got very good comments from the Hubert Bolls Foundation as well as the first moral support, so I’ve decided to produce the film all alone and managed to collect enough money to start shooting. In September 2006, I set a goal for myself to finish the film before the Cannes Festival. During the October, I have gathered actors and crew and started filming. We were much happier when they’ve notified us about entering the festival’s programme than after winning the prize. Award ceremony is extremely tensed situation and you just can’t wait its end.’

     Munguiu was born in Jassi, Romania, and, as he said, have had a chance to watch films only once a year, when traveling movie theater come to his town. His work was crucially influenced by Forman, Kieslowski and Truffaut, as well as Kusturica, whose film ‘Time of the Gypsies’ he genuinely appreciates. ‘I was just a kid when I saw ‘Time of the Gypsies’. I’ve never heard for Kusturica before. It was sort of revelation to find out that someone made the film totally different from anything I had seen before. I saw his other films, too, but none has left such a strong impression as this one.’

     Speaking about great expansion of the Romanian film today, Munguiu said that there had never been better time in the history of cinematography for the movies from this country, disregarding differences in style or aesthetics. ‘There is no Romanian film school as itself, but only Romanian authors’ striving for simplicity in storytelling. However, the biggest step forward is not in the prizes, but in the fact that Romanian film has found its place at the world market’, Munguiu said.

     He was not ready for the great success his movie had attained because, as he said, he himself was really surprised by good reactions in Romania. ‘As soon as we arrived to Cannes, we have realized that the film might get an award. After it really had happened, everyone in Romania was happy and greeted me although the film wasn’t shown there yet. When I have asked them why do they congratulate me, they told me it was because of the prize. Every award bears some kind of awe with it. For example, in Korea there were 200 people waiting to get my autograph, although the majority of them haven’t seen the movie yet, and in Romania, right after my comeback from Cannes, I have got quite unusual offers, such as to become a representative in the Parliament or head manager of library… my hometown’s city keys presented by the Mayor himself, and the stuff like that’, Munguiu said. He financed the showing of the film all alone by buying all the necessary equipment in Germany and forming the caravan which traveled from town to town, about what a documentary has been made. According to his words, this story about illegal abortions has left no one indifferent and on almost every projection someone would get sick and had to be carried out.

     ‘4 Months, 3 weeks, 2 Days’ is the first film in trilogy named ‘Golden Age’ and supposed to tell a several stories from the 50 years long Nikolae Ceausesku’s reign.

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