The first day of TIFF Oradea meant eleven shows at three locations in the city. Two of the films shown at the Oradea State Theater were Romanian films. From 6:30 pm, “Pentru mine tu esti Ceausescu”, an experimental project on the border between documentary and fiction, ran. The film is an X-ray of the new generation trying to find the motive behind the actions of young Nicolae Ceausescu, now when social acceptance, the desire to be important and to have power is as present as in the 1930s.
Young director Sebastian Mihelescu left the world of information technology to direct films that were initially short films. For the first time in Oradea, the director admitted at the end of the show that the idea came to him after watching Radu Gabrea’s film about the Ceauşescu trial, “Three Days to Christmas” (2012). Then he was thinking about who could play Ceausescu in a movie. Searching on the Internet, he found Siguranţa files and many photos, and later also obtained the personnel file from historian Mihai Burcea, from Ceauşescu’s youth period. “It was a period that was not represented in any way from a visual point of view because there were no pictures of Ceausescu from that time. Then it was ‘Nobody’, just a teenage agitator. And I thought who could play it, because they must be aged 15 and 16, who were born after the revolution anyway. It’s been 100 years since Ceauşescu was born… And that’s how we got to the casting.”
Sebastian Mihelescu also had a reference to the book written by Pavel Cambiano, a cellmate with Ceausescu, who fled the country in 1988. From there he learned how ambitious Ceausescu was when he played chess in Daftana prison, although he lost every match once, he was Sort of George’s servant Giorgio Dej, wiping his shoes, distributing cigarettes and sleeping on the floor in front of Dej’s cell door. Another historical book is “The Kiss of the Hand That Can’t Bite” by Edward Beer: The Rise and Fall of Ceausescus.
Text and improvisation
The director chose his heroes for the film from non-professionals. And he saw many young men, who also arrived at Ferentari, “in the most dangerous street of Bucharest”. He tried to gather a team of young people from as many social backgrounds as possible, and would even have liked to get to Scornicesti, the place where Ceauşescu was born, but he was confined to Bucharest. So he chose the grandchildren of the mother Caterpillar, the famous witch from the 90s. Amador, Francesca and Fabio appear in the film. Sebastian Mihelescu would have liked to bring Iono Amador Motoi to Oradea as well, but now he’s working on a ship to support himself and says he was lucky to catch him at home during filming.
When asked how much improvisation in the end and how much of the original script was, the director admitted that the script that won him the National Film Center was one, and to the end it grew through moments of improvisation left to audience appreciation. Heroes from what they knew from their parents and saw on TV, but also from frames shot during breaks, which captured real and interesting discussions between young people who admitted to acting. Often imagine the protagonists of Ceausescu comparing him in places with Escobar or El Chapo.
“I’m careful not to ‘crush’ people when I’m in front of the camera and realize that a lot of things happen during breaks from filming, creating the same energy as in Communism. For example, Dennis had a notebook he wrote in all the time, and he says he was A security guard. Others avoided him. Then I asked him to tell the camera what he wrote there. Everyone turns a certain way.” There were a total of 70 hours of graphic material in which parts of Ceauşescu’s character were obtained through the prism of the way young people played and felt, creating an interesting group photo.
For the hero Dan Hodechi, who was also present at the show in Oradea, it was very interesting to go through the personnel files that he would not have had the opportunity to read, from which he learned that Ceausescu had liberal parents and a brother of the Legion “It was interesting to learn about Ceausescu’s political rise from During the intense activity and a series of favorable conditions for it.I really like history, it is the most wonderful story.It was a very pleasant experience to cooperate with colleagues, and to do what we have to do in the best possible way.
At the end of the dialogue between Sebastian Mihailescu and the audience, the actor Julian Postelnico, who is in the auditorium, invited the spectators to stay and watch the film in which he plays, “Oameni de treabă” by Paul Negoescu, a film he cares a lot about and is very proud of.
Opening with the song
In parallel, the official opening of the festival was held at the Oradea State Philharmonic, the opening of which was originally supposed to take place in Biawa Unirii, but the rain moved inland. Claudia Druk, Director of TIFF Oradea, gave the opening speech for the 5th edition of the festival in Oradea. “We are very happy to be back in Oradea and to be able to count on a large audience, to be able to continue the selection of films and dinner parties that are dear to us that we give in Cluj and then in other cities of the country. For the premiere in Oradea with a number of Romanian and Hungarian films and dinner party projects Brand new that we haven’t presented anywhere else. “Thank you for making time for films, for culture, for this festival,” said Claudia Druck.
This was followed by a small concert by the band Espressione Quartet who performed songs from the soundtrack to the film Lost Illusions shown at the end of the evening, “Lost Illusions” is a 2021 French film directed by Xavier Giannoli, adapted from the novel of the same name by Honoré de Balzac. This year the film won no less than 7 Cesar Awards.
On Saturday, there will be ten more shows at TIFF Oradea, two of them outdoors will be moved to the auditorium due to the weather forecast, respectively “The Unemployed Club”, at the Oradea State Philharmonic and “Utama”, at the Regina Maria Theater.