Mirica’s debut feature opened in more than 70 cinemas and screening venues in Romania.
Dogs, Bogdan Mirica’s debut feature film has opened in more than 70 cinemas and other screening venues across Romania. Dogs won the FIPRESCI International Critics Prize in the Un Certain Regard section at the 69th Cannes Festival, the Transylvania Trophy at the Transylvania International Film Festival in Cluj Napoca, and two awards at the Sarajevo Film Festival. The plot is set is eastern Romania, near the Ukrainian border. A young man from the city called Roman goes to an isolated village in Dobrogea to sell a plot of land he inherited from his grandfather who had died a couple of months before. During his stay, he gradually becomes aware of a series of strange events. There is something threatening in the air. Alongside Dragoş Bucur, Vlad Ivanov and Gheorghe Visu, the cast includes Teodor Corban, Raluca Aprodu, Costel Caşcaval and Constantin Cojocaru. The director Bogdan Mirică also wrote the screenplay of the film, which critics believe is a departure from the Romanian New Wave:
Bogdan Mirică: “I think an unjustifiable distinction is being made between art-house films and films for the public, which means that many people have become used to automatically viewing art films as boring and popular films as superficial. I don’t think this type of looking at things is valid, considering that there are many films that enjoy both critical acclaim and box office success. I also think that instead of stubbornly dividing things into separate categories, we should be honest with ourselves and see where the film takes us. I hope as many people as possible can relate to my film, which may or may not translate into box-office success.“
“I’m not interested in a social critique of contemporary Romania. I am interested in speaking about certain typologies”, says Bogdan Mirica. He tells us the idea for the film is based on impressions he remembers from his childhood:
Bogdan Mirică: “I don’t know if they were objective observations or rather emotions. I spent my childhood in the countryside and I witnessed some events there, some of them very brutal and arbitrary. I think arbitrary violence is terrifying because you don’t know what causes violence and you can’t predict that a certain situation will escalate. I had been thinking of this kind of atmosphere and a certain human type for a long time and at some point I realised there was a potential there I could develop in the film. As an independent filmmaker you know your project may take years to develop and have to be sure you won’t get bored with it. I realised there were enough emotions in me to be able to develop this project without becoming bored or discouraged along the way.”
Bogdan Mirica wrote the screenplay of his film Dogs with two actors in mind for two key roles: Gheorghe Visu and Vlad Ivanov:
Bogdan Mirică: “The discussions I first had with the actors focused more on the world I wanted to create rather than on the characters. This world, to be characterised by a kind of theatricality and poetry and a kind of nostalgia, does not have a perfect counterpart in reality. The register of the film is not a realistic one, the way characters speak is not realistic, the way they keep silent or relate to one another is not realistic either. So I had to make the actors understand the kind of atmosphere I wanted to create and I wanted to create a stylistic coherence. […] As a director you have many tools, many instruments at hand and Gheorghe Visu is a strong presence with a kind of halo about him and I’m referring to the way he stands and forces his feet into the ground and in this way, his acting might have become redundant. So I wanted to balance such situations to make sure I reach my target.”
The film directed by Bogdan Mirica has been selected at festivals in Finland, Norway, Canada, Poland, Israel, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Sweden, the USA and Italy.