“Morometii 2” is a free adaptation based on Marin Preda’s second volume of “Morometii” on another novel called “Life as Prey” and on his journalistic pieces
“Morometii 2,” the adaptation of the second volume of novelist Marin Preda’s “Morometii,” reached the Romanian movie theatres in November. Directed by Stere Gulea, this is the sequel of the famous film made in 1987 after the first volume of Preda’s novel, starring Victor Rebengiuc and Luminita Gheorghiu. In the first weekend alone, “Morometii 2” brought over 52,000 viewers to cinema halls in more than 50 towns, and thus became the biggest box office hit in the past 25 years in Romania. We talked to director Stere Gulea a few days after the premiere, about the risks of making a sequel to one of the most celebrated works in Romanian cinema, about the challenges of adapting Marin Preda’s novel into a film, about the need to vindicate Nicolae Moromete, about the audience’s response to the new Ilie Moromete character, played by Horatiu Malaele.
Stere Gulea: “Morometii 1 ends with a question. And this was one of the reasons why we made the sequel. We had left something unanswered, the story of a family from the 1930s was left mid-way. There was the war, there was the change in political regime, and Marin Preda tackled all these in the second volume, where he also talked about this drama of peasants whose land was nationalized. So one of the reasons behind making this sequel was to take the story to a close. But there was another reason as well, namely to tell the story of Romanian peasants, whose symbol I think Ilie Moromete can be. I saw this as an opportunity to talk about a collective drama through a character that is so famed and benefits from so much sympathy as Ilie Moromete does.”
“Morometii 2” is a free adaptation, based on the second volume of “Morometii,” on another novel by Marin Preda called “Life as Prey” and on Marin Preda’s journalistic pieces. The film resumes the story of the Moromete family after World War 2. The events take place in 1945-1946, during the transition from democracy to communist dictatorship, and includes the period when peasants saw their land taken away from them and included in collective farms. The point where the film takes the largest distance from the book is that Stere Gulea would not make the youngest son of the family, Niculae Moromete, played by Iosif Prastina, a communist party activist.
Stere Gulea: “Many of those who’ve read the second volume, just as critics have said, have the feeling that it does not match the first, and that Marin Preda made some concessions in order to be able to print it during the Communist regime. But then Communism fell and we had the chance to see ourselves free, with no constraints of censorship, because of which many had to falsify history, but I wondered for a long time whether I had the right to write a script that was so different from Marin Preda’s book. It was an issue that I struggled with a lot. Because, in the end, it’s a matter of consciousness, and of respect to a great author and his book. So, for a long time, I wondered whether I had that right. But then I remembered that Preda had said that Niculae was an alter ego. And then, all that story with Niculae, the party activist, looked like the price he had to pay in order to write the novel. But, unlike Marin Preda, I did not have that ideological constraint, I had the freedom to make decisions that Preda was not allowed to make.”
On the launch of the second part of Morometii, director Stere Gulea talked about his attachment to the central character of the book, Ilie Moromete, one of his role models: “A man who is trying to understand what is happening around him. A man who is trying to understand the others, with their own choices and conflicts, a man who does not pass final judgments. And, in the end of the film, when he is asking those who have taken the power in the village: ‘This thing that you want, is it going well?’, and the Communist mayor replies nonchalantly: ‘Why shouldn’t it?’, Moromete is the one that draws our attention to the silly things around. Because most of the times we tend to hasten and not take time to reflect, we don’t realize the importance of each moment. We have the feeling that only certain moments are important, but in fact each and every moment counts when taking a certain stand and making a certain decision. After 1990 I have tried to stay present in society, because I no longer wanted to live in a regime in which I could not be myself, just like millions of other people. It was the fear, the twisting of reality that deformed and mutilated our souls. That was the problem; people had their souls mutilated, they could not think with their own minds, which for Moromete is unconceivable. These are the issues raised by Moromete and that is why I have such a great consideration for this character created by Marin Preda.”
The cast for “Morometii 2” includes Horatiu Malaiele, Dana Dogaru, Iosif Pastina, Razvan Vasilecu, Andi Vasluianu, Florin Zamfirescu, Paul Ipate, Costel Cascaval, Dorina Chiriac, Marius Florea Vizante, Cuzin Toma, George Mihaita, Gheorghe Visu, Marian Ralea, Ioana Bugarin, Andreea Bibiri and Anca Androne.