Magazine article Screen International

Cristian Mungiu Reveals First Details of Next Film

Magazine article Screen International

Cristian Mungiu Reveals First Details of Next Film

Article excerpt

EXCLUSIVE: Romanian Palme d'Or winner to explore complexities of bringing up children in Fotografii de familie.

Romanian director Cristian Mungiu is gearing up to shoot his new film inspired by his own life and the implications of fatherhood.

"I've written a couple of scripts in the last three years and I've finally decided which one to do first. I hope to start shooting in the next six months," Mungiu told Screen.

The film called Fotografii de familie in Romanian, which translates as "family photos", was awarded $457,000 (1.9m Romanian Leu) by the Romania's National Cinema Centre on Monday (March 9).

It will be Mungiu's first film since Beyond the Hills, which premiered at Cannes in 2012 where it won best screenplay and shared the best actress Palme d'Or between the female leads.

"It's a story which is linked to where I am in life now" he revealed. "It's about compromise, parenting and children and understanding this relationship between what you say to your children and what they see you doing.

"It's set in Romania again. People are always asking me if I'm going to make an English-language film but I want to make personal projects about things that I know."

For the first time, the film will focus on a male character unlike his Palme d'Or winning 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, about a woman who helps a friend secure an illegal abortion, and the convent-set Beyond the Hills.

"Everybody thinks I can only do female protagonists and it's not the case," he said with a wry laugh.

Mungiu spoke to Screen at the Doha Film Institute's Qumra meeting this week.

He attended as one of the 'masters' at the event, aimed at developing projects that have been awarded grants by the fund as well as nurturing emerging talent in the region.

At his masterclass on Wednesday, he talked about how the process of coming-up with a new film was a long one for him.

"In between films I have very long periods in which I am completely clueless about what I want to do next," he said. "I have no idea whatsoever where to start.

"I start having these ideas of maybe I don't know anything about cinema, that I am completely stupid and incapable of doing anything relevant. I'm not this happy, fortunate sort of guy who takes a shower, socialises and is then struck by an idea.

"I spend weeks and months in the office, thinking, even if don't write anything. I read books, watch films, talk to people - it can be very frustrating but eventually a spark comes."

Path to filmmaking

At the masterclass, Mungiu revealed he originally thought he would be a writer although he had a strong interest in cinema from adolescence.

"I never had a proper education about films. You have to place this in the context in which I lived," said Mungiu, who was born in the eastern Romanian university town of Iasi in 1968 and grew up under the communist rule of Nicolae Ceausescu, who was overthrown and executed in the Romanian Revolution of December 1989.

"I lived in the 70s and 80s in Romania. I'm not from Bucharest. I'm not from the capital. I'm from a town of half a million inhabitants with a lot of universities. There were some seven cinemas, although not one is left today, but we didn't have a cinematheque," said Mungiu.

As a result, he explained, he only had access to popular, commercial films playing in the local cinemas or on Romania's single TV channel as a child. …

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