A New Romanian Film Treat at The Times BFI 53rd London Film Festival: Tales from the Golden Age & The Happiest Girl in the World

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15th October 2009


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The Ratiu Foundation and the Romanian Cultural Centre in London invite you at The Times BFI 53rd London Film Festival for a series of screenings of two of the most acclaimed Romanian films of 2009. Tales from the Golden Age & The Happiest Girl in the World HAPPIEST-GIRL-IN-THE-WORLD The Times BFI 53rd London Film Festival’s full programme was announced on 9 September by Artistic Director Sandra Hebron. The programme includes a diverse selection of world and international premieres, with a total of 191 features and 113 shorts, screening along an exciting line-up of special events and expected guests. Details on www.bfi.org.uk/lff This year’s programme includes the critically acclaimed ‘Tales from the Golden Age’ (from the creators of the Cannes 2007 Palme d’Or winner ‘4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days’), and ‘The Happiest Girl in the World’, the debut feature film of director Radu Jude. Nicolae Ratiu, Chairman of the Ratiu Foundation, said “We are glad to be once again partners of The Times BFI London Film Festival, and we are proud to contribute to showcasing new examples of excellent Romanian cinema. We are confident that the British public will appreciate and enjoy these films.”

Romanian Films’ Programme:

TALES FROM THE GOLDEN AGE (Amintiri din Epoca de Aur)

Romania / 2009 / 131 mins / Romanian with English subtitles Directed by Cristian Mungiu (Palme d’Or, Cannes 2007), Ioana Uricaru, Hanno Höfer, Constantin Popescu. Cast (selected): Ion Sapdaru, Teo Corban, Vlad Ivanov, Tania Popa, Gabriel Spahiu. The idiocies of daily life in a dictatorship are explored in this comic, ironic look at Romania under the Ceausescu regime. This comic and darkly ironic look at Romania under the Ceausescu regime uses five urban myths from this so called ‘golden age’ to show the idiocies of daily life in a dictatorship, and the importance of humour in coping with its consequences. The project was conceived and scripted by Cristian Mungiu (‘4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days’), who also directs one of the episodes. The others are mostly directed by newcomers, and the film is presented as a collaborative effort. Appropriately, and setting the tone, the film begins with The Legend of the Official Visit in which a village of ordinary rural folk are charged with ever more ridiculous and obsequious tasks in preparation for a state visit which may or may not happen. Other tales present a rudimentary approach to media manipulation, doctoring the image of the leader to make him look taller; the lengths to which people would go to relieve the monotony of the mid-80s Romanian diet; and the impact of the growth of free enterprise on individual lives. Added together, this unusually successful portmanteau film is both knowledgeable and knowing, with plenty of laugh-out-loud moments. It's a stylistic treat too, with intertitles designed to reflect the vernacular of the period, helping to catch the mood of the time. (Sandra Hebron) Screenings on: Saturday 17 October 2009, 21.00, Vue West End, Screen 6, Leicester Square, London WC2H 7AL Monday 19 October 2009, 12.45, Vue West End, Screen 6, Leicester Square, London WC2H 7AL Tickets: £12.00. Booking: from 23 September (BFI members); from 26 September for the general public. Online at www.bfi.org.uk/lff or at Telephone 020 7928 3232 (9.30-20.30 daily). In person at the BFI Southbank Box Office (11.30-20.30 daily).

THE HAPPIEST GIRL IN THE WORLD (Cea mai fericita fata din lume)

Romania / 2009 / 90 mins / Romanian with English subtitles Directed by Radu Jude. Cast: Andreea Bosneag, Violeta Popa, Vasile Muraru. The latest find from Romania: an acerbic comedy about a young girl who wins a soft-drinks competition and finds that success comes with a catch. You could call Radu Jude’s ‘The Happiest Girl in the World’ the latest Romanian film-about-nothing (or about one small thing extended to breaking point). The title may suggest one-joke irony, but Jude – who worked as assistant director on Cristi Puiu’s ‘Death of Mr Lazarescu’ – scores by following the premise of this bitter comedy to genuinely excruciating lengths. Delia (Andreea Bosneag) is a small-town girl who has won a car in a soft-drinks competition; as part of her reward, she is doomed to spend a day in Bucharest shooting a commercial through clenched teeth, while her parents (Violeta Popa, Vasile Muraru) lay on the moral blackmail. Delia gamely speaks her lines, over and over again, but what looks like becoming a protracted gag about the capitalist dream gradually evolves into a resonant tragicomedy, its insight all the more trenchant for being executed with such casual economy. Long takes and a no-nonsense realist aesthetic perfectly capture the oppressive feeling of a day badly spent in a crowded city. A modest, no-frills work, but one of the wittier and more honest films of the year. (Jonathan Romney) Screenings on: Thursday 15 October 2009, 13.45, NFT2 (National Film Theatre), BFI Southbank, London SE1 8XT Saturday 17 October 2009, 21.00, Curzon Mayfair, 38 Curzon Street, London W1J 7TY Sunday 18 October 2009, 18.30, Curzon Mayfair, 38 Curzon Street, London W1J 7TY Tickets: £9.00. Booking: from 23 September (BFI members); from 26 September for the general public. Online at www.bfi.org.uk/lff or at Telephone 020 7928 3232 (9.30-20.30 daily). In person at the BFI Southbank Box Office (11.30-20.30 daily). Image above is from ‘The Happiest Girl in the World’ . Courtesy of The Times BFI London Film Festival.




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