Romanian film review – The summer of film: Operation Kino

You might call this the summer of TIFF (short for Transilvania International Film festival). After the festivals in Cluj, Sibiu and a brand new one in Miercurea Ciuc, the ubiquitous TIFF films have been touring the country for open air screenings and will keep traveling until September.

The Caravana TIFF/Operation Kino programme (which you can find here) might be modest but it's a solid mixing of foreign and Romanian films of all genres. The Romanian entries feature two likeable comedies, Despre oameni și melci/Of Snails and Men and Și caii sunt verzi pe pereți/Chasing Rainbows, the brilliantly tense drama Poziția copilului/Child's Pose, glossy historical enterntainment starring Gerard Depardieu and Harvey Keitel (Condamnat la viață/A Farewell to Fools) the and the very debatable (to put it mildly) Funeralii fericite.

Of the foreign ones I would recommend Lore, a harrowing and clear-headed tale of post-World War Germany told through the eyes of a young woman with Nazi sympathies, An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker, a passionate and formally modest documentary about a Roma family struggling to receive the most basic of medical care in today's Bosnia, the gorgeous Blancanieves, a loving homage to silent cinema, and the documentary The Last Black Sea Pirates, a very enjoyable crowd-pleaser.

Caravana TIFF is all about the art of cinema but it's also about its inherent unifying potential. Films are meant to be seen in a community and the caravan is trying to reach audiences throughout the entire country and most of all in cities with a modest or outdated cultural profile. This is a major problem in Romania, where all major cultural events happen in Bucharest while the rest of the country is left with a few highlights a year - in the best of cases - or nothing at all in the bleakest and most common scenarios.

I think TIFF has been doing a great job at breaking this pattern. The free entrance to all screenings is not just an act of generosity but I assume of necessity: the sad truth is that in a country where illegal downloading of films is done as casually as having breakfast, there is a large number of potential viewers who would not pay to see a movie. Finally, the fact that open air events are even more spectacular is just the icing on the (caravan) cake. I wonder though if this version of showing films, as beautiful and summery as it is, might also be a necessity since there are cities which have been left with no cinema halls at all and no proper possibilities to screen a film.

The Caravan has already visited Cluj, Timișoara, Oradea and will stop next in Bistrița, from July 19th to July 21st. According to the official press release, the caravan will also go to Iași, Fălticeni, Brașov, Buzău, Suceava, Roman, Bacău, Galați, Focșani, and Deva. I couldn't find more details on these events (they should really work on their official project description), so make sure to check these further stops on the official site (albeit only in Romanian) or the Facebook page. Operation Kino is a joint effort of Romanian Film Promotion, Transilvania International Film Festival, and film festivals in Sarajevo, Sofia and Odessa.

By Ioana Moldovan, columnist, ioana.moldovan@romania-insider.com

(photo source: Caravana Kino on Facebook)

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Romanian film review – The summer of film: Operation Kino

You might call this the summer of TIFF (short for Transilvania International Film festival). After the festivals in Cluj, Sibiu and a brand new one in Miercurea Ciuc, the ubiquitous TIFF films have been touring the country for open air screenings and will keep traveling until September.

The Caravana TIFF/Operation Kino programme (which you can find here) might be modest but it's a solid mixing of foreign and Romanian films of all genres. The Romanian entries feature two likeable comedies, Despre oameni și melci/Of Snails and Men and Și caii sunt verzi pe pereți/Chasing Rainbows, the brilliantly tense drama Poziția copilului/Child's Pose, glossy historical enterntainment starring Gerard Depardieu and Harvey Keitel (Condamnat la viață/A Farewell to Fools) the and the very debatable (to put it mildly) Funeralii fericite.

Of the foreign ones I would recommend Lore, a harrowing and clear-headed tale of post-World War Germany told through the eyes of a young woman with Nazi sympathies, An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker, a passionate and formally modest documentary about a Roma family struggling to receive the most basic of medical care in today's Bosnia, the gorgeous Blancanieves, a loving homage to silent cinema, and the documentary The Last Black Sea Pirates, a very enjoyable crowd-pleaser.

Caravana TIFF is all about the art of cinema but it's also about its inherent unifying potential. Films are meant to be seen in a community and the caravan is trying to reach audiences throughout the entire country and most of all in cities with a modest or outdated cultural profile. This is a major problem in Romania, where all major cultural events happen in Bucharest while the rest of the country is left with a few highlights a year - in the best of cases - or nothing at all in the bleakest and most common scenarios.

I think TIFF has been doing a great job at breaking this pattern. The free entrance to all screenings is not just an act of generosity but I assume of necessity: the sad truth is that in a country where illegal downloading of films is done as casually as having breakfast, there is a large number of potential viewers who would not pay to see a movie. Finally, the fact that open air events are even more spectacular is just the icing on the (caravan) cake. I wonder though if this version of showing films, as beautiful and summery as it is, might also be a necessity since there are cities which have been left with no cinema halls at all and no proper possibilities to screen a film.

The Caravan has already visited Cluj, Timișoara, Oradea and will stop next in Bistrița, from July 19th to July 21st. According to the official press release, the caravan will also go to Iași, Fălticeni, Brașov, Buzău, Suceava, Roman, Bacău, Galați, Focșani, and Deva. I couldn't find more details on these events (they should really work on their official project description), so make sure to check these further stops on the official site (albeit only in Romanian) or the Facebook page. Operation Kino is a joint effort of Romanian Film Promotion, Transilvania International Film Festival, and film festivals in Sarajevo, Sofia and Odessa.

By Ioana Moldovan, columnist, ioana.moldovan@romania-insider.com

(photo source: Caravana Kino on Facebook)

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