The production “Toni Erdmann” directed by Maren Ade and co-produced by Ada Solomon has been nominated for an Oscar in the Academy Awards Best Foreign Language Film category.
The awards gala will be held on the 26th of February at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. The film, which was shot almost entirely in Romania, is the only title from 2016 to be included among the 21st century’s 100 greatest films by BBC Culture. “Toni Erdmann” was first screened in the official competition of the Cannes Festival last year, where it impressed both critics and the public.
It won the FIPRESCI award granted by the International Federation of Film Critics and was one of the critics’ favourite for the Palme D’Or. “The recognition enjoyed by the film is overwhelming. Nominations come and go, the film will remain. The fact that, because of this international recognition, the film is watched by more and more people is the best reward for all those who worked on the film”, says Ada Solomon, the first Romanian producer to be nominated for an Oscar.
She told us more: “For me, box office success is not the most important thing; a film should have something to say and raise questions, whether about our personal choices, the path of history or what happens in society today or in the recent past. These are the criteria by which I decide whether to get involved in a project or not. With regard to international projects, minority co-productions or foreign films in which I become involved as a producer, they are in most cases connected to Romania and a certain way of looking at Romania. I’m not interested in just any film that is set in Romania or whose plot is in some way linked to Romania. My main focus is on what the film says and how it says it, first of all through its script. Perhaps it’s about films that I would personally want to see at the cinema.”
“Toni Erdmann” is about Winfried, an eccentric and a practical-joker who, after he retires from work, makes a surprise visit to his daughter, a career woman working on an important project in Bucharest. The prestigious American magazine “Variety” has described Maren Ade’s third feature film as a “unique study of an estranged but mutually depressive father and daughter” and a “humane, hilarious triumph.” The cast includes Peter Simonischek and Sandra Muller, Michael Wittenborn, Thomas Loibl, Trystan Putter, Hadewych Minis and Lucy Russell, as well as the Romanian actors Vlad Ivanov, Ingrid Bisu, Alexandru Papadopol and Victoria Cocias.
The co-producer of the film, Ada Solomon once again: “I have always been interested in the topic of uprooting, in the life of those luxury nomads, the highly-skilled experts who have jobs far from their families, from their friends, far from the culture they have grown up in. I am interested in the way that kind of uprooting affects those people emotionally. I looked at the expat community in Romania, and I also wanted to turn that into a movie topic, as it seems to me people talk so much about the world we live in and about the way we ignore ourselves as human beings at the expense of some ideals that we pursue and that only provide financial security and status. But those ideals fail to provide emotional security. So on the one hand, it’s about the choices we make in life, about whether we opt for building up a career or a relationship with our loved ones, about how we forget about them (and we do forget about them very often), about how often we respond to their attempts to reconnect with us and how strongly we regret there were times when we did not listen to them or we did not hear them at all.“
Ada Solomon says she was straight away persuaded by the project initiated by Maren Ade, who researched the topic very thoroughly. With details on that, here is Ada Solomon once again: "Maren Ade is a filmmaker with a very broad vision and a clear focus on what research means. And some of the best parts of this experience, which lasted for almost two and a half years, were that I got to become more familiar with the documentary and with researching and preparing a topic, and the way she chose to document her screenwriting and how long the research activity took her, so that everything should be as credible as possible and rely on a realistic structure. And all along we exchanged hundreds of thoughts, we had countless talks, she spent a lot of time in Romania. It goes without saying that her extensive research work actually began at home, as she read stuff published in Romania, but also materials published in the international press.“
Alongside Cristian Mungiu’s feature film “Graduation,” “Toni Erdmann” has been nominated for the French Cesar Awards in the best foreign film category.