The film „of a New Era” on the country’s boondocks
“A serious comedy, no discordant notes, with a remarkable concern to restore the atmosphere of the era”, says Cristina Corciovescu about the film inspired from the short story by the same name, written by Ioan Groșan.
Director: Titus Muntean
Scriptwriters: Titus Muntean
Cast: Mircea Diaconu, Dorian Boguță and Iulia Lumânare
Produced by: Oana Giurgiu, Tudor Giurgiu, Jens Körner
Cinematography by: Vivi Drăgan Vasile
Film editing by: Andu Radu
Category: feature film
Duration: 100 minutes
42,687 – Cinepub viewers
In an isolated village in Transylvania, at the beginning of the 60’s, people live peacefully under the leadership of Tanasie, the local People’s Council’s President. A mobile cinema, run by a young and ambitious communist activist, Tavi, arrives with the express mission of making a propaganda film screening. It’s Tavi’s first assignment and he struggles to make a success of it. Except that the endless rain causes flooding, and the inertia of the villagers continually foils his plans…
Adapted by the homonymous short story written by Ioan Groșan, „Kino Caravan” is one of the few Romanian films made after year 2000 whose subject goes back so far in time, to the pre-Ceausescu beginnings of the communist regime instauration. The party member Tavi arrives in a village in Transylvania to raise citizens’ awareness about the communist realities that are around the corner. There’s a terribly heavy rain in the village, nobody is waiting for the caravan with the propaganda film and everything seems meant to be breaking the young activist’s enthusiasm. Eventually, the school headmaster, the head of the cultural department, the primary school teacher, the president of the local council, the First Sergeant show up. The film falls in the water and is ruined, and the villagers’ solutions to fix it verges on the absurd. The serenity of the locals dramatically contrasts with the increasing tizzy of Comrade Tavi, who is determined, more than ever to „file a report on them”. The report is the only thing that wakes the villagers from their lethargy, to such an extent that they are willing to bring out redoubtable weapons: a rich dinner, with a lot of local brandy. Miss Corina, „the head of the cultural department” is not insensitive to the young man’s charm, and to his youthful energy meant to save the world, but this is all she can see in his more or less alcohol-impregnated discourse.
The promised world of socialist transformations leaves her cold, and when she realises that Tavi’s meaningless reductive discourse templates are against humanness, she rejects him. „Kino Caravan” is a Romanian film in which humour is woven over a translucent dramatic fabric in which the irreconcilable conflict is between a world with timeless rules and the „brave new world” which comes to unroot the old „retrograde” convictions, with the people carrying them altogether, if necessary.
While the villagers have their own ways of keeping any outside meddling, regardless of its political colour, outside their lives, the price is paid, as always, by the innocent. Along with Mircea Daneliuc’s films and Horațiu Mălăele’s „Silent Wedding”, present in the Romanian films online category on Cinepub, Titus Muntean’s film is a welcome addition to the series of productions that x-ray the communist era in Romania.
“The film has a slow-warm pace and the tender-satirical atmosphere of Jiri Menzel’s productions from almost three decades ago: the same exaltation of the provincial life, in which nothing seems to be happening, the same close observation of the initially benign and almost unnoticeable impact of the „new era”, the x-ray of the relation with the political compromise in order to safeguard some kind of seemingly unalterable humanity, the same gallery of ordinary characters, yet not lacking picturesque. Let’s not forget that behind the Czech legendary filmmaker always lay a pen inspired by a writer (most often, Bohumil Hrabal).” (Elena Dulgheru – www.aarc.ro )
“You’ve been to America?
Yes! His mother just kept begging me to go and bring him back, in the end I had to go!”
“Get out of bed, people! We came with the film!”
“How is this possible? This is sabotage!”
“Light a fire in the school. We’ll hang the film out to dry.”
“And this Darcleu… He’s got no awareness, either politically or culturally.”
“Of course, I have feelings like anyone else.”
“… there’ll be so much beauty, light… we’ll bring electrification…”
“Let them come. Big deal. They’ll come and go too.”
- Transilvania International Film Festival (TIFF) – Romania, 2009
- Best Production Design and Best Original Music Score, Gopo Awards – Romania, 2011
- Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Mircea Diaconu), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Iulia Lumânare), Best Cinematography (Vivi Drăgan Vasile), Gopo Awards – Romania, 2011
- Best Scenography (Christian Niculescu), Best Costumes (Viorica Petrovici), Best Makeup and Hairstyle (Dana Roșeanu), Best Original Music (Vasile Sirli), Gopo Awards – Romania, 2011
- Medal of Honor and Kino Caravan, www.aarc.ro