Happy new year, dear Insiders! Let’s kick off the 2019 column with a list of what we can expect to see this year. So many premieres are scheduled and so many established names are returning with new fare, which is great.
There are a few titles I am very much looking forward to watch myself, so here they are in a purely subjective selection. To start chronologically, there is Marius Olteanu's debut Monștri/Monsters, officially selected for the Berlin International Film Festival (7-17 February). The story of a couple’s breakup should be promising if one is to judge by the director’s previous short films, all solid.
Speaking of the Berlinale, last year’s big winner, Adina Pintilie’s fearless and much-debated Touch Me Not will finally be released theatrically in March and I am counting on it to make quite a splash. The month of March seems to be particularly busy, because Mona Nicoară's feature documentary on poet Nina Cassian, Distanţa dintre mine şi mine/The Distance Between Me and Me, is also scheduled for that period.
The tireless Tudor Giurgiu (director, producer, festival director extraordinaire) will release his latest feature, Parking, in June. Giurgiu’s films (Love Sick, Of Snails and Men, Why Me?) have always been commercially successful and had a story worth telling, socially and historically, so here is very much looking forward to a love story set in Spain.
Cap si pajură/Heads and Tails is the title of Nicolae Constantin Tănase’s new film, apparently also scheduled for 2019. His 2015 debut Lumea e a mea/The World is Mine was a breath of fresh air, an explosion of raw energy and made him one talent to watch out for.
Marian Crișan, whose choice of topics and genres have been impressively versatile (Morgen, Orizont, Rocker), is also set to release his new feature Berliner, about a politician with a certain past and an agenda. Florin Șerban will also continue his Love trilogy with Love 2. America. Love 1.Dog is a muscular effort and I am expecting nothing less from its follower.
Andrei Grusznicki is also currently finishing his latest, and not a moment too soon. Zavera is the story of a middle-aged man who finds himself in a tailspin after his friend and business partner dies. Grusznicki's previous drama Quod Erat Demonstrandum is nuanced and admirably controlled, and was such a revelation in 2013 (in its approach, its look, and choice of topic) that I am truly counting the days.
Speaking of counting days, the prolific and consistently brilliant Corneliu Porumboiu (Police, Adjective, 12:08 East of Bucharest, Infinite Football, The Treasure) is also expected to present The Passenger (or The Whistlers; I am not sure what the final title is) this year. I would watch any films he makes but the detail that sold me instantly this time was seeing Augustí Villaronga’s name on the cast list. In case you are not familiar with the Spanish director, I have one title for you: the cult-ish, very stylish, and deeply disturbing 1987 Tras el cristal/In a Glass Cage. It is not for the faint of heart, though. You are welcome.
And speaking of great ones, Cristi Puiu is also rumored to release a new film, a period picture, La conac/Manor House. After the smashing success of Sieranevada, I am very curious to see what he does this time. In Puiu's case you really never know what you are getting next.
However excited I am about all these titles, the news that Andrei Ujică might release his new documentary tops them all. Ujică’s previous films Videograms of a Revolution and The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceaușescu are in a league of their own, and immensely relevant. Beatles (Things We Said Today) is no less ambitious, documenting a weekend of the legendary band in New York in the 1960s. He has been working on it for many years, and the process seems to be anything but simple, so here is hoping he can wrap it up in the foreseeable future. It would be the ultimate cherry on the cake.
The dates mentioned above might change, and some premieres might be postponed altogether to 2020, but if the information available now (Cinemagia.ro, IMDb, Aarc.ro, Cineuropa, Screen Daily) is to be trusted, this will be one hell of a year. For a comprehensive list of expected releases, as well as films in development and pre-production, Metropolis magazine has made an extensive list of all of them, for your further consideration.
by Ioana Moldovan, columnist; [email protected]
(Photo source: Monstri. Facebook page)