Picking snails after the Revolution
Screened in Cannes in 1995, with Dorel Vișan, Cecilia Bârbora, Clara Vodă and Florin Zamfirescu playing the main parts, „The Snails’ Senator”is “a fierce analysis of our moral and spiritual decay in these years” (Mircea Dumitrescu). With a strong sense of Mircea Daneliuc’s personal style, “The Snails’ Senator” shows “Daneliuc’s sense of humour, bent on escalating everyday occurrences into hallucinatory ironies, which is blacker than black” (Edna Făinaru).
Director: Mircea Daneliuc
Scriptwriter: Mircea Daneliuc
Cast: Dorel Vișan, Cecilia Bârbora, Clara Vodă, Florin Zamfirescu, Dan Chișu, Nicolae Albani, Anda Caropol
Produced by: Mircea Daneliuc
Cinematography by: Doru Mitran, Petre Petrescu
Film editing by: Melania Oproiu
Category: feature film
Genre: comedy drama
Duration: 108 minutes
64,810 – Cinepub viewers
Senator Vîrtosu arrives in a mountain city in order to commission a wind power station and accommodates himself in a former communist mansion, where the French president, Charles de Gaulle, had also slept. The senator could have enjoyed a very relaxing weekend, if it hadn’t been for a Swiss film crew covering the news reportin the area. Vîrtosu wants to be obliging with the media, but he also wants to hide some things that the press should never find out about him.
Part of an impressive filmography of one of the first directors who “exported” Romanian films before the New Wave, “The Snails’ Senator” is also a satire and an important political film about the social and moral realities of the post-revolution period. Many of the film spectators still vividly remember the dark years of the “90s, years of confusion and disorientation, in which the instruments of power had only apparently been replaced: in fact, the new leaders were the old leaders, trying to “whitewash” themselves in the shades of the freshly inaugurated democracy.
The main character of this Romanian film, which focusses on exposing the new corrupt reality, is Senator Vârtosu, majestically played by actor Dorel Vișan. Invited to a mountain town at the inauguration of a wind powered installation, the senator is accommodated in one of Ceaușescu’s former protocol villas. His relationship with the villagers and with the villa staff is one of pure vassalage. The Senator carries himself with the habits and mentalities of a privileged member of the former system. Nevertheless, reality brings about new challenges for him, namely, a group of Swiss journalists who take photos and research anything that is interesting in the area. The Senator also sees them with the eyes of the communist, for whom whatever comes from the West is bad and threatening to the status-quo. Unfortunately, now the journalists can’t be stopped from walking around, wherever they please.
The Senator will have to cover a rape and a so-called ethnic conflict that will degenerate into the destruction of an entire village … Daneliuc’s film is one of the most eloquent Romanian films on the post-revolution Romanian society.
“The film transmits a paradoxical state throughout its entire length, at the border between humour and tragic. Laughter freezes on your face as the story shifts from “Caragiale’s world” (full of irony) to the signs of the Apocalypse skilfully slipped in through the burlesque images by the director. Undoubtedly, Daneliuc’s latest production is an exceptional cinematographic event (…).” ( Alexandru Horia – www.aarc.ro )
“Where Pintilie would have said“let them die daft”, I think Daneliuc, a demolisher as he might seem, secretlywipes off a tear in the corner of his eye.” (Magda Mihăilescu – www.aarc.ro )
“Senator, I swear, they steal the doorknobs, the parquet, the cement. As much as we want, we can’t build anything here.”
“We are poor people.
You are shitty cowards.
We are, but can we do?”
“Girl, please… Tear up the complaint!”
“Poor Ceaușescu, he built a thing or two.”
“I want to pray!”
- Cannes International Film Festival – France, 1995
- Palme d’Or, Cannes International Film Festival– France, 1995
- Special Jury Award (Mircea Daneliuc) and Best Actor Award (Dorel Vișan), UCIN – Romania, 1995
- Best Actor Award (Dorel Vișan), Montpellier – France, 1995