On a rainy day, two guys arrive in a small village with film and a projector in their car. No one from the village comes to meet them. What happened? Who are they? The not knowing relays no...
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Marius Florea Vizante,
On a rainy day, two guys arrive in a small village with film and a projector in their car. No one from the village comes to meet them. What happened? Who are they? The not knowing relays no small amount of interest at times through tension as in a horror movie, and at times through compassionate laughter.Written by
Pusan International Film Festival
The movie caravans have a history that is worth exploring. It begins a century ago in Russia immediately after the Bolshevik revolution. The regime established by Lenin and Stalin noticed early the propaganda force of the young art of cinema and created groups of political activists, educators and artists to convey the revolutionary messages on the front of the civil war and then into the geographically huge and ethnically diverse Soviet Union born in the revolution. Some of the most famous Soviet filmmakers, such as Sergei Eisenstein or Dziga Vertov, participated in these activities. Film caravans used trains, special trucks, or ships to reach the far corners of the USSR. 30 years later Romania imported, especially in the first decade after the Communists took power, some of the Soviet propaganda methods. Such an experience is described in the film 'Caravana cineatografica' made in 2009 by Titus Muntean. The caravan in his movie turns out to be something other than just art or just propaganda.
The story takes place in a remote village in Romania in 1959, where an 'comrade activist' from the 'region' comes with his driver on a truck transformed into a movie caravan, in order to educate the local peasants by screening heroic Soviet films. The communist activists in the film had in mind their own model about how the Romanian village and its people are, judged by them according to social class criteria, about where they must reach - a vague utopian egalitarian future - and about the means to be used - forced collectivization and education through propaganda. Nothing in reality, however, corresponds to their model - from the weather that drowns them in a real mud that seems a metaphor of a moral and historical swamp, to the local people attached to their land and cattle, with positions and characters inherited from ' the old order '. Communication attempts are dominated by the visitors not understanding the reality from the simple human relations to the social ones that do not obey the rules of the imposed utopia, and by the locals being plunged into fear - the terrorizing fear of change but especially of the abuses of the Party and of the secret police. The traditional Romanian village described in the film by Titus Muntean (who also wrote the screenplay adapting a novel by Ioan Grosan) has its own weaknesses, some of its inhabitants are corrupt, others just ridiculous, but in essence they retain their humanity in comparison with the lack of compassion and the horror of the methods by which visitors intent to change their world. The innocence and dignity represented by the character of a young woman, a librarian working in the village have little chance of surviving in this reality.
I liked the film approach and I wonder why a director like Titus Muntean has so far failed to make a more consistent career. In 'Caravana cineatografica' he proves that he has mastered the tools of the profession, conversing with the traditional Soviet propaganda films, but also with the Romanian cinema from the years of communism and its films about Communist heroes. The clash of the two civilizations that takes place in the microcosm of a Romanian village in 1959 lives on screen through credible situations and characters. The story is well written, the dialogues are authentic and we have the feeling of fluency when watching the story on screen. The image is expressive and consistent in style. An experienced actor like Mircea Diaconu certainly does not need too much directorial guidance, and makes us regret in this film that he has devoted too much time in the last decade to politics to the detriment of acting. However, the young actors Dorian Boguta and Iulia Lumanare were here close to the start of their careers, and I think they are well advised. The relationship between them starts on the screen with delicacy and humor, before it takes a tragic turn. 'Caravana cineatografica' succeeds to present an interesting variant of the history of these tools of propaganda through art and a believable story in the of the people around them in an original tragic-comic register.
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