Romanian film review – Watch Online: European Film Festival
The annual European Film Festival, organized by the Romanian Cultural Institute and backed by EUNIC, the European Union National Institutes for Culture, has been a constant in the national cultural calendar, with the year's most lauded European productions shown both in Bucharest and selected cities across the country.
This time, like all other events, the festival had to rethink its options, and what a lovely idea to still make it happen online and not cancel it. Its 24th edition has also adapted in terms of content and went for a brilliantly simple and pressing concept: instead of presenting a collection of older titles or current selection (presumably finished or in progress by the time the pandemic hit), they asked Romanian directors to shoot a short film in isolation and the result are no less than 18 titles by 21 filmmakers, both established and up-and-coming. The festival will release a film every day and two during the weekend.
The audience can watch them on the festival’s website (some of them have English subtitles, while the animations and the more experimental entries are without dialogue, which leaves a few in Romanian only). The kick-off was a delight, with Radu Jude’s Stimați oameni de cultură/Dear Intellectuals fully delivering on topicality and wit. As usual, Jude shines an affable yet unambiguous light on prejudice, hypocrisy, and the traps of intellectual gymnastics, with great humor. This is not just an entertaining start, but sharp and uncompromising, befitting the times, and setting the tone for a very promising selection.
The other titles already revealed are just as good, especially Alina Manolache's I Am Here, a pensive, precisely observed, and beautiful collage of public recordings of spaces emptied by the pandemic all over the world (and beyond; there is an exhilarating surprise at the end); Bogdan Theodor Olteanu's personal, funny meditation on filmmaking Ananas/Pineapple; Matei Monoranu's playful Ce să faci în casă?/What to Do at Home?, Laura Pop's wonderful, ulta-short animation Atrii, ventricule/Atriums, Ventricules; and Marius Olteanu's ingenious take on structure, creation, cinema, and memory Unthinking. Unfeeling.
Between 17 June and 21 June, TIFF Unlimited will join the hosting and also show a selection of European films depicting the continent’s multiculturalism and artistic creativity, as well as its issues, concerns, and endeavors.
All productions shown this year are short films and the screenings are all for free. To top this gift, while all Romanian films featured on the FFE site can be accessed from Romania only, the last day of the event, 21 June, will make the Romanian entries accessible worldwide on TIFF Unlimited.
True to the festival’s dedication to the importance of (artistic and social) dialogue and exchange, the website will also host talks with the directors and film critics on selected dates at 7pm EET (accessible worldwide).
By Ioana Moldovan, columnist, [email protected]
(Photo source: FFE Facebook page)