The 2014 Astra Film Festival’s Focus Loznitsa now presents his latest documentary Maidan, alongside three of his earlier works—The Train stop(2000), Landscape (2003) and Blockade (2005)—as well as a panel discussion related to the concept of “authorship” within film-making between Sergei Loznitsa and Cristi Puiu, moderated by Neil Young (film critic, UK).
Questions arising include:
* What happens when the texture of the film is composed of images recorded directly from the immediate mundanity of the world around us?
* What happens to the position of the filmaker as author engaged in an existential understanding of the world while, for example, shooting in the central square Kiev amid full revolutionary turmoil?
* Can the film-maker avoid or resist the direct expression of his/her own political stance?
* Cinema is established as a very strong medium and, throughout its history, has been misused as a dangerous means of mass manipulation, especially when the language of the film espouses and expresses a particular political position. What is the correct standpoint of a filmmaker as an author in this situation?
* What is the role of a filmmaker concerned with the controversies of a society undergoing dramatic transformation?
The panel discussion takes place after the screening of the film Maidan Continue reading
In Jim Jarmush’s Coffee and Cigarettes, friends meet to romanticize about their love for two savory customs. Cristi Puiu’s Cigarettes and Coffee turns Jarmush’s film around. Neither Fiul (Mimi Branescu), a young man dressed in a suit, nor Tatal (Victor Rebengiuc), his poor looking father, smoke or drink coffee as they meet in a bar to talk business. Instead, they have water, beer, and apple pie. And unlike the character’s in Jarmush’s film, Fiul’s and Tatal’s conflict is not to come to terms about myths on tobacco and caffeine. The old man in Puiu’s film actually has a serious problem. Continue reading
The Second Game (Romanian: Al doilea joc) is a 2014 Romanian documentary film directed by Corneliu Porumboiu. The film integrally depicts the Dinamo — Steaua footbal derby played on December 3, 1988; the game is commented on by Porumboiu and his father, Adrian, the referee of that match.
It was selected for the Forum section at the 64th Berlin International Film Festival. Continue reading
A romanian old man goes downtown to call his son in US from a public phone but….
A boy and a girl, both teenagers, want to get away from the world and be alone for a while, so they hide in an abandoned factory on the outskirts. But there they fall in a trap of their own intention, and get stuck in the cargo elevator. There is no one around to hear them, and nobody knows their whereabouts. Tension arises after each failed attempt to escape, while they also have to deal with the fact that their entire universe is now reduced to a metal box smaller than a room. Continue reading
Focused on a director and his leading actress while they are off the set. They discuss the discrepancies between film and digital cinema, Western and Eastern food, and try to capture an unfiltered (and seemingly impossible) sense of “reality” on film.
The story: Cornelia, a middle-aged high society architect, is informed by her sister-in-law that her son Barbu has killed a child in a traffic accident, and both immediately proceed to the police station where he is being held for questioning. They barge into the interrogation, all the while phoning useful contacts, and manage to change Barbu’s statement, after which they take him back to his parent’s house. In the following days, Cornelia develops various schemes to get Barbu off the hook of a trial, receiving unexpected support from Barbu’s wife (or girl-friend) Carmen, even though they thoroughly hate each other.
The accident itself is not the main story. It serves as a backdrop for highlighting the blatant disregard of the rich for the poor, the pervasiveness of corruption in Romanian society, and to illustrate how possessive and self-serving Cornelia is. Most screen time is devoted to Barbu’s ‘cutting of the post-natal umbilical cord’, his sometimes desperate, mostly half-hearted attempts to gain independence from his overprotective mother. Continue reading