- October 18, 2013
The improbable ending
Selected to represent Romania at the Oscar Awards’ 87th edition, the best foreign language film category, winner of the Best Film Award at the Warsaw International Film Festival, The Japanese Dog” is a delicate and tender Romanian film about family reconciliation. Hollywood reporter considered it a pleasant movie, unexpectedly optimistic, superbly played, where hope is permanently glimpsed behind tragedy.
Director: Tudor Cristian Jurgiu
Scriptwriters: Ioan Antoci, Gabriel Gheorghe, Tudor Cristian Jurgiu
Cast: Victor Rebengiuc, Șerban Pavlu, Laurențiu Lazăr, Ioana Abur, Kana Hashimoto, Toma Hashimoto, Doru Ana, Emilia Dobrin
Produced by: Tudor Giurgiu
Cinematography by: Andrei Butică
Film editing by: Dragoș Apetri
Category: feature film
Duration: 90 minutes
248,254 – Cinepub viewers
Old Costache Moldu has lost his wife, his house and a lifetime’s savings, in a flood. The unexpected return of his son,Ticu, from Japan, together with his wife and son, will bring them both in a situation where they need to learn to communicate again, thus re-becoming a family. Costache learns to be a real grandfather to his seven-year-old grandson, and Ticu does his best to fix his past mistakes.
„The Japanese Dog” seems to belong to the Romanian films gallery that approaches Romanian country life in the poor and sunburnt Bărăgan region. Throughout the film, it is difficult for the Romanian viewer to shake off the memory of Moromete, one of the best-known characters in Romanian literature and cinematography (played in 1987 by Victor Rebengiuc, the same actor who plays Old Costache this time).
Country life in Jurgiu’s debut film is no longer placed under the sign of urgency, because its derisiveness is accepted. The destiny of the peasant – main character is no longer utterly connected to his land plot, although he does not want to sell it.
The salvation of the one who has lost everything in a flood no longer comes from his village and neighbours, nor does it come from nature, which he should have a primary relationship with, according to tradition. His salvation comes from his personal history, and this creates a breechfrom other Romanian films about country life and traditional culture.
„Round, reserved, with no pathetic or melodramatic traces, the film weaves thestory thread of some miserable people hit hard by floods, which took away their homes, their food, their animals, as well as memories and past. One more storyengrafted on this pain.” (Cristina Zaharia – www.aarc.ro)
„The father-son relationship in “The Japanese Dog” starts somewhat from the model of the prodigal son returned home, but as his home is deserted, the prodigal son turns, willingly or not, into the saviour son, to take his father from a magical, but rather dysfunctional paradise, into a bizarre world – the futuristic Japan – which is everything but paradisiac (at least for a good old countryman “Moromete”) but valid, from a pragmatic point of view.” (Elena Dulgheru – www.aarc.ro )
„Handsomely shot to privilege nature’s prime position in rural life, this deceptively simple tale, told in beautifully self-contained scenes that dispense with unnecessary exposition, boasts a sterling performance by Victor Rebengiuc, the best-known Romanian actor of his generation, in a role of unassuming dignity.” (Jay Weissberg – www.variety.com )
- Santa Barbara International Film Festival – USA, 2014
- Best Feature (Tudor Cristian Jurgiu), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (ȘerbanPavlu), Best Cinematography(feature) (Andrei Butică), Best Sound (feature) (Vlad Voinescu, Filip Mureșan), Best Art Direction (feature) (Cezara Armașu), Best First Feature (Tudor Cristian Jurgiu), Gopo Awards– Romania 2014
- “Opera Prima” Award, UCIN – Romania, 2013
- Best Feature, Warsaw International Film Festival – Poland, 2013
- Best Feature, Vilnius International Film Festival – Lithuania, 2014
- Romanian Days Award for Debut (Tudor Cristian Jurgiu), Transilvania International Film Festival – Romania, 2014
- Best Actor in a Leading Role (feature) (Victor Rebengiuc), Gopo Awards – Romania, 2014