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It is the story of Mugur Calinescu, a Romanian teenager who wrote graffiti messages of protest against the regime of dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and was subsequently apprehended, interrogated, and ultimately crushed by the secret police.
I thought it was a documentary, at the beginning of the movie. Then I noticed the accents of an artistic film. In the middle, I realized that it was a film in Ivana Mladenovic's style. The story is quite simple: Ivana visits her parents and grandmother, in Kladovo, on the Serbian bank of the Danube. It is an occasion of verbal conflicts with them, of secret meetings with her Serbian boyfriend who is 13 years younger than her and the welcoming of her former Romanian boyfriend, along with his girlfriend, during the Romanian-Serbian friendship festival.
Why is Ivana so terrible?
Because she feels she has medical problems, although the tests say she has nothing. Because of this, her parents consider her a hypochondriac, and her grandmother condemns her lifestyle. But Ivana is mostly afraid of what the town will say if they find out that she has a relationship with a 21-year-old boy, as she is 34. This fear was a real one, as the director confessed at the post-premiere discussion.
Otherwise, Ivana is a strong woman, with pertinent arguments, to the same extent that she is annoying. In this context, the adjective "terrible" becomes an additional reason to want to know her and find out the internal motivations behind her behavior.
Engaging one's family in a movie is not an easy thing to do. It was difficult at times, especially since her father was a veterinarian and could not always be available on the set, and her grandmother was old, so she had a rather low energy level. However, Ivana's effort paid off and a lively film full of psychology was the result.
The script started with Ivana's personal diary. Together with Adrian Schiop, she built a plausible scenario, sprinkled with irony, self-irony and even humor, sometimes bitter. Ivana acknowledged that she was inspired by "Summer Night, Half Past Ten" by Marguerite Duras.
The shootings also involved a part of the city of Kladovo, where Ivana was considered a famous actress because Serbs don't consider the role of director as an important one.
The funny thing is that Ivana's former Romanian lover is Andrei Dinescu, and his father, the poet Mircea Dinescu, appears in a scene in the end, on the bridge, when he says a few words and recites.
I urge you to watch the movie for the realistic character created by Ivana Mladenovic, one of the most complex characters I have encountered in Eastern European cinema.
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