The first review of Romanian contemporary documentary movies in the UK is being held between April 26 and July 31, 2021
The first review of Romanian contemporary documentary movies in the UK is held between April 26 and July 31, 2021. It is organized by the Romanian Cultural Institute in London, in partnership with the Romanian festivals Astra Film Sibiu and One World Romania. They also partner with two of the best known festivals in Britain, Sheffield Doc Fest and Open City Doc. The name of the event is Framing the Change, with over 30 movies and special events for the British and international audience. The event brings together Romanian documentaries from the last two decades, dealing with topical social issues such as massive migration, the intersection of religion and the secular world, the complicated relationship between school and home education, the recent history of Romania, and so on. The selection also includes a series of movies of introspection in the personal lives of their makers, or uncovering the history of a community, reflecting the variety of styles and aesthetics in Romanian documentary film.
The first part of the retrospective was put together by Adina Marin (a member of the team at the first editions of the Astra Film Festival, and showcases directors such as Alexandru Petru Bădeliţă, Alex Brendea, Dumitru Budrala, Ionut Carpatorea, Radu Ciorniciuc, Ştefan Constantinescu, Andrei Dăscălescu, Răzvan Georgescu, Oana Giurgiu, Florin Iepan, Alexandru Solomon, and Julio Soto. Here is selection manager Adina Marin:
“I was very happy about this project, initiated by Magda Stroe, coordinator of the Romanian Cultural Institute in London, who wanted to start with a small scale review of Romanian documentaries. The project grew due to her efforts, and became what we see today. In fact, it was natural that it be this way, because, as time went by, Romanian documentaries became an ampler and more complicated topic, which could not be rushed in two or three screenings. As for the selection, when you do a retrospective, you either put in the program all the documentaries made in the period covered, which is impossible, or you make a selection, which is in itself automatically subjective. My subjectivity consisted of looking back to the movies selected for the Astra Film Festival, which marked a certain moment. I am talking about special screenings, emotional ones, movies that meant something special in a director's career, or documentaries that told stories that were important for a given moment. I was emotional when looking back at these movies to make the selection, it was like seeing friends you haven't seen in a long time, and asking yourself what is was going to be like. I was very curious to see what impact I could have with these movies after so many years. To my pleasant surprise, I realized that this is one of the qualities that documentaries have, a documentary movie does not grow stale. If we talk about the evolution of technology, no matter how much it evolves, documentaries will maintain their quality of making a snapshot of the moment they were made, and of having all sorts of connotations that we feel to this day.”
The retrospective of contemporary Romanian films in Great Britain opened with a panel discussion with Adina Marin (manager for the Astra Film Festival in Sibiu), Andrei Rus ( artistic director for One World Romania), Cíntia Gil (director of Sheffield Doc Fest) and Michael Stewart (director for Open City Docs), and moderated by journalist Jonathan Romney, who writes for the publications Film Comment, Sight & Sound, The Observer, and Screen Daily. Adina Marin told us:
“I found very interesting this initiative by the RCI in London, to hold a discussion, because it afforded me and Andrei Rus, selection manager for the second part of the program, the opportunity to bring arguments in favor of the selection we organized. Referring to the guests, the discussion was attended by people who had, one way or another, contact with Romanian documentaries along the years. The discussion was interesting because it introduced many perspectives, not just our visions, as the organizers of the festival. I was happy to have there Jonathan Romney, who is interested not only in documentaries, but also in Romanian cinema overall, which he has been following for many years. The discussion took place right before the Oscars were granted, and therefore it happened that in this way we created a bridge from Dumitru Budala's film, On the Road, from 1998, which in a way opened the way for observational documentaries in Romania, to Alexander Nanau's film Colectiv, which had two nominations at the Oscars.”
The program of the second part of the retrospective, held between June 15 and July 31, consists of a selection made by critic Andrei Rus, artistic director for One World Romania. The movies are screened on the online channel of the RCI in London, subtitled in English, and some of them are available only in Great Britain for a short period of time. You can find complete details on the RCI and RCI London websites.