Romanian language

The Word of President UCIN - On the cinema theater....

        Just a few days ago I saw an exceptional documentary film directed by Alexandru Boiangiu. Its title was Our House like a Flower. The film was here and there ironically, sometimes - sad. Mostly sad! Upon this movie came to my mind, I started to think about the cinema theater and what it still stands for today. Sure, I might invoke an exceptional documentary, made by Alexandru Belc at Tudor Giurgiu’s initiative, which is a warning on the disappearance of cinema theaters. Many halls are utterly ruined, others became clubs, others are bars with a bar along with the related dancers, others turned into improvised casinos and others simply do not exist anymore. Speaking about Scala Cinema, from the its vast and welcoming hall has remained only a corridor specific to comfort three apartments. Patria Cinema hosts all kinds of humoristic shows where great actors present themselves as "blind"! 

Everyone shoot a film today, receive awards and feverishly gather scores to win the contest organized by the National Center of Cinematography (CNC). Millions of viewers of Michael the Brave or Pacala (Cheater) are memories today; and if you make a survey, meaning stopping innocent people in the street and tell them that no one would believe that years ago at Scala Cinema for instance, a half kilometer queue was made to view the film High School Students. After finishing a film, directors are hoping to reach the malls, where viewers come with huge bags of popcorn and nachos casseroles. And they crunch during the performance. Only after that, the film directors take into consideration to do the premieres either at Cinema Studio, an art cinema, or at the Cinema Pro. The cinema theater fills up at the gala evenings and gets empty the next day. The public does not request art films anymore. When getting a hundred thousand spectators, you can declare yourself happy that you will receive the GOPO plump little man Statuette for highest box office. At the same time, when watching the TV scroll in the same day, you find out that a 3D super production with a burning Troy or picturing the Titans battles make a box office over the film budget in only one weekend.
Taking into account this sad reality no one or almost no one considers the filmmaker’s house, the cinema theater, a sort of "our house like a flower!” What is it to do? Beyond awards, articles, festivals, the film must be shown in the cinema hall too, not at home (there was once was a TV show called Tele-cinemateque in Slippers and Dressing Gown).
I am calling upon all the people with genuine artistic status and involved in the Romanian cinema phenomenon to gather and discuss the issue of the cinema theater and how could we recapture the audience. I do not know why the theater hall is always full, even at light comedies, but cinema theaters remain empty and the only blessing it can offer the few spectators present is turning off the lights. In the dark, you can have the feeling that you share the joy of the screen with hundreds of fellows.
The cinemas avenue, the former March 6th and currently Elizabeth Boulevard looks like Sunset Boulevard (so to quote a famous movie). There you can see today all kind of small shops displaying plastic busts dressed up with bras, boutiques for fattish and plump, shoes, handbags and all sorts of posters with foreign singers, most of them septuagenarians, coming to perform at the Palace Hall, which became a hall of geriatric art. You go to see Bob Dylan’s concert, but you can’t see him as he is in contre-jour, you wonder about Adamo's vitality, or realize that Demis Roussos’ poster is no longer valid as the great singer has died.
The cinema hall will have to embody a hall for performing art, a hall where you meet actors and film critics, the hall where the author must present his work with dignity. Otherwise, we will have what we once called „production on stock”.  
Laurentiu Damian


February 26, 2015: PRESIDENT'S APPEAL

        The Romanian cinema has a substantial significance in our present world. There were times and stages when our film industry won important prizes at major festivals of the world. There were momentous times in the 60s, there was the generation of the 70s which generated a remarkable cinema manifesto entitled "Water as a Black Buffalo", there were spectacular debuts even in the 80s. But today we witness a different situation: it is about a clear trend a group of creative artists propose in approaching the cinema art; it's not just films on exciting topics, but also an aesthetic and poetic of its own. In a way, the new Romanian cinema, with its today mature directors, has brought to life again the film culture to the detriment of the entertainment

Radu Jude's success with his film "Aferim" (which in Romanian means "Well done!") was awarded the Silver Bear for Best Director in Berlin. Just watching only a few promotional images and I realized how much effort, how much work and how much ability were necessary for the producer Ada Solomon to carry out a project that broke the boundaries of camera cinema. Other films will follow. Radu Muntean and Corneliu Porumboiu are to come in the stage lights. We are waiting for the Cannes film festival. The great international festivals organized worldwide seem today national festivals to us, because the awards bestowed by UCIN, UARF or GOPO Foundation are the same as those offered by Cannes, Berlin, Locarno, New York, etc.
I made these assertions because, in the Film Authors Association within UCIN, important names in the Romanian film are not present. Maybe it's their decision or maybe no one has thought that the force of a creators’ union lays not only in its past, but also in its present and future. What I am saying now sounds pathetic, but I think that Stere Gulea and I have provided the cinema with the most representative names of our contemporary days. I do not know to which extent our teaching methods mattered, but I know we both offered them freedom to work, freedom to take risks and even freedom to err, and take it over again with a project. Is it more? Or little? Only they, today’s creators, could tell.
My appeal addresses the elite of today’s Romanian filmmakers to join the Authors’ Association within UCIN. Our cinema elite presence would cast brilliance to an over 50 years tradition Union. The filmmaker’s word would become strong also through their presence. What I mean now is not coming out of the need to gather names in a structure and ask advantages citing these names. I believe that today's young filmmakers need to understand that their step to join their fellows is honoring primarily them. There are cultures where the Council of Elders is essential. There are also cultures hiding their elders. They are even ashamed of them. I always considered that a filmmaker has no age, because the artist is ageless. There are only stages when probably enthusiasm is lost and, taking a closer look, you may find out that you did not do the right thing. Time will assess the value of a work, not circumstantial articles or caste judgements.
With the hope that this Appeal will be read and, why not, thought-out, I thank you.
Prof.univ.dr Laurentiu Damian President of the Romanian Filmmakers’ Union