The Microphone Test by Mircea Daneliuc - CINEPUB

Synopsis

In communist Romania, a cameraman falls in love with a stowaway, and this fills all his time.

The film presents the author Mircea Daneliuc as a director, screenwriter and actor. Tora Vasilescu and Gina Patrichi are completing the remarkable cast of a film “that confirmed Mircea Daneliuc as a filmmaker fighting against the communist system”. A film that, surprisingly, managed to escape all those years of censorship.

The Microphone Test by Mircea Daneliuc - CINEPUB

Director: Mircea Daneliuc
Scriptwriters: Mircea Daneliuc
Cast: Tora Vasilescu, Gina Patrichi, Mircea Daneliuc
Produced by: Casa de filme Trei
Cinematography by: Ion Marinescu
Film editing by: Maria Neagu
Year: 1980
Category: feature film
Genre: drama
Duration: 108 minutes
Subtitles: English
Territories:

98,579 – Cinepub viewers

PLOT SUMMARY

Luiza and Nelu, a reporter and a cameraman, have a relationship. Things take a surprising turn in their lives when, during a feature report filmed in Gara de Nord, where they are interviewing several criminals, Nelu meets Ani, a girl without a job, without parents, without a residency permit for Bucharest, a girl that is constantly hunting around for money, in order to support her alcoholic brother.

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„The Microphone Test” is that kind of Romanian film that clearly places Mircea Daneliuc in the category of directors fighting the system. However, miraculously, the film survived the harsh censorship of those times. “To everyone’s bewilderment, the man had the fantasy of letting the film pass. Untouched. Pure and simple”, Mircea Daneliuc was telling about the party secretary who approved the film, in his autobiographic book Broken cat.

“The Microphone Test” was shot in 34 days, August – September 1979, no extras were used, so all the interviews were made with common people, and the dialogues were mostly improvised. This cine-verite might have been the key that saved the film. The team of reporters and cameramen start the story with a series of interviews meant to expose train stowaways and continue with feature reports on proper citizens who work proudly and honestly and raise their children in the same spirit, observing absolutely all the regulations.

Moreover, the female character is blamed because she does not follow the golden rule: she must have a job in order to be a member of the society and, despite the wayward love story, the state of conformism given by the interviews spread throughout the story, suffocates the characters’ journey to a forced assumption of a condition they cannot escape. The metaphor can be endlessly extended in a society that didn’t give people much choice.

“Censorship wasn’t something that killed you. You tried to fight it, to say no to it. In the end, there was sacrifice, too – the film became wrinkled, scratched, bloody. But it was published”, director Mircea Daneliuc was saying in 2015, at Transylvania International Film Festival. Fortunately, unlike other Romanian films that had to face censorship, “The Microphone Test” came out unmutilated.

Reviews:

“The Microphone Test” (1980) did not propose anti-totalitarian parables or metaphors, but it simply woke you up from the death sleep of human dissolution into the unnaturalness of the communism. Nelu Stroe’s revolt against the System is expressed not through anti-communist manifestos, but through his attempt to marry “questionable” Ani.” (Cristian Tudor Popescu – tiff.ro )

“After so many topical films that have tried to make reality up until it was unrecognisable, Mircea Daneliuc seconded by an excellent team (operator Ion Marinescu, sound engineer Silviu Camil, actresses Tora Vasilescu and Gina Patrichi) manages to make an act of authenticity.” (Cristina Corciovescu – www.aarc.ro )

“Microphone Test is not an outraged protest film, but it offers viewers surreptitious peaks inside the Romania of its time. It is a messy world, filled with absurdist regulations, bitter power games, and good old fashioned lust. Intellectually fascinating and almost perversely engrossing…” www.jbspins.blogspot.ro

Lines:

If you want to be an intellectual, why travel without a ticket?”
„You, dicky, fuck off!”
„I love you, you miserable cow!”
„Nelu, I need money.
I am sorry, my father’s got no more teeth.”

Festivals:

  • Transylvania International Film Festival, Mircea Daneliuc Retrospective – Romania, 2015
  • Thessaloniki International Film Festival, MirceaDaneliuc Retrospective – Greece, 2015
  • Making Waves Festival, New Romanian Cinema, Micea Daneliuc Tribute, New York – USA, 2015

Awards

  • Grand Prize, Best Cinematography, Best Sound, Best Editing, Best actress (Tora Vasilescu), Honorary Diploma (Maria Junghietu), ACIN – Romania, 1980
  • Special Prize of the Jury, Best Actress in a Leading Role (Tora Vasilescu), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Maria Junghietu), Costinești – Romania, 1980

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