The premieres of this early autumn (“California Dreamin‘” by Nemescu from last week and the Borțun short film collection today) are designed to accompany the return of students to the classroom. On Monday, I attended the opening of the Bucharest Theater and Film School, which was full of glamour: three ministers, two secretaries of state, a multimedia presentation, aerial filming, many television stations, reporters, elegant faculty, current and future stars, young professors and students sophisticated, alternative, bohemian, diverse… Scattered here and there, also a few from the old guard, once young, students of the first post-revolutionary generation, today professors: gray-haired, changed in shape and volume, silent or hyper vocal, discreet or politically correct-friendly, but with a different light in their eyes than that of 30 years ago.
I am among them and I recognize myself in the twilight mirror. I was moved by the gift from one of the sponsors, placed generously on each chair (and there were hundreds): an elegant bottle of still water and a hipster can of water, but fruity and with a hint of agave, USP underlined elegantly in the product’s video marketing campaign, a true 3D post-production royal with a copy that would have made a junior creative from AMV London pale with envy. What else, you thought you were at DFFB in Sony Center in Potsdamer Platz, not in Matei Voievod 75-77. On this occasion, I remembered my youth breaks from the socialist buffet on the ground floor, never heated and always full of cigarette smoke or the summer evenings when we stole pumpkins and corn from the field to feed ourselves after filming the exteriors from the productions of my generation, sleeping in a tent, “on location”, in the bluish smoke of the grill on which we had grilled the stolen cobs. (Well, yes, we didn’t take a shower before …)
October is both a beginning and an end. In addition to the explosive energy and enthusiasm of the cheerful freshmen, you may meet, in the afternoons, after the end of the nine-to-five program that has taken the place of the ideals of youth without old age, anonymously and silently, along the walls, towards the secretariat, old graduates who come to pick up a dusty diploma. It’s hard to remember them anymore – from promotions you could count on your fingers, the school now produces hundreds of graduates to meet the entertainment needs of a cheerful nation.
Several generations have entered and left through these doors since then. In addition to the author (the first after the Revolution), the middle one was that of Cristian Nemescu and Andrei Toncu, but they didn’t come in the fall, their last journey was in a sad August. Their colleague, friend, and screenwriter of “California Dreamin“, Tudor Voican, is today a professor at the school, but he is not a worldly figure – after all, our profession is the most anonymous in an industry of celebrities and we are often confused with set-designers, as the name of the profession, so what’s the point of showing yourself to the world? But, another reason, perhaps, like Cristian and Andrei, Cătălin Cocriș, Tudor’s friend and roommate in college, is no longer here, friends become black-and-white photographs, and the film of those who remain alive desaturates chromatically.
Generations march on, lined up like in Liiceanu’s metaphor from “The Forbidden Door”. But any end carries within it the seed of a new beginning. Like for me Emil Vasilache, my colleague from the editorial office and from school, who avenges through his texts things that I have not written. The one below, about Andreea Borțun’s short films, represents a dialogue between generations. Andreea has made my life as a teacher enjoyable, just like Emil, my last school “production”. Today, as I write these lines, Andreea, the best cinéma d’auteur product of the UNATC screenwriting course, will shout: “it’s a wrap up” and will close the filming of “Blue Bank”, her directorial debut in a long feature. Reading the screenplay of the film, I found the recurrence of the fundamental theme, in a unique world that Andreea interrogates with determination, scratching with her fingernails to the blood of hope the miserable mud of this forgotten corner of the world. The (re)discovery has moved me enormously, as I know the film will move many.
The ending of my text remains in a note of optimism and hope, when I give Zavattini the right: “The more expensive a film is, the more immoral it is.” Nothing can compensate for the poverty of the Blue Bank of Romanian cinema. No wonder, but if we move Potsdamer Platz to Matei Voievod or Iancului street, what do we do with the Papillon pub across from the school? October is both a beginning and an end. We begin today with the “Borțun short film collection“.
(Lucian Georgescu, cinepub.ro)