Radu Muntean is one of the "angry" directors who appeared after December 1989. His feature debut, the first of his generation, was Exit (2002), a personal film that also contained elements imposed by the producers. Since then he has worked only on his own independent projects as creator and co-writer. These were The Paper Will Be Blue (2006), the film about the "Revolution", and Boogie (2008), selected in the Directors' Fortnight in Cannes. At 38 and with his fourth film, he's again in Cannes, in „Un certain regard”, with Tuesday, After Christmas, the story of adultery within a love triangle (the actors are Mimi Branescu, Mirela Oprisor, Maria Popistasu); it's an intimist film, extremely restrained. Almost 10 years ago I spoke with Radu Muntean in an interview about Exit (the literal translation of the Romanian title is Rage), and I wanted to find out what was left of his anger now, and how he sees the changes in Romanian cinema over the past decade. We met not Tuesday, After Christmas, but Monday, after the 1st of May, a day celebrated by Romanian people in the most bourgeois-populistic style, pretty much the way the characters of his movies would.
How does it feel to be selected in Cannes?
I would be a hypocrite to say I'm not happy.
Where would you place this new film, Tuesday, After Christmas, among your films; why did you choose such a difficult and uncomfortable issue?
There is nothing more interesting to me at this moment than to speak about intimacy. It's more exciting than an action movie. Certainly, in a way, Tuesday... continues the story of Boogie and, if you speculate, the main character can be Costi from The Paper Will Be Blue if he had survived the revolution, but I haven't intended this. It's just that time has passed and I'm interested in different things now. I don't think I would have been able to do Tuesday... at that time when I did Exit or The Paper Will Be Blue.
Could you comment on the meaning of the title?
Sure, but I don't want to. It's anti-marketing.
What happens with the characters after the end credits roll? What chance do you give them in real life?
I don't know, I'm no psychic. I can tell you in the smallest detail what happens to them during the film, but after the end credits roll they go on with their lives. We can make bets if you want, but I cannot be am absolutely sure about their future.
This is your first film in wide screen format, 1:2.35? Why this format?
Mainly for practical reasons. I decided to tell the story in long takes with two or three characters almost always in a deep-focus shot, and for the cinemascope is the solution by the book. And then, aesthetically speaking, let's say I wanted to artistically shoot the dirty laundry og Paul's life.
What was your biggest chalenge when making this film?
Shooting feelings. In this film I did a lot of things I had kept away from before. Like shooting somebody saying „I love you” or „I don't love you” or „you'll never see this child again” - it's difficult ig you don't accept the melodramatic conventions.
Do you think your advertising experience helps you in your films, or is it rather in the way?
It rather helps met o keep fit.
What kind of movies inspire you? What are the movies that inspired you for Tuesday... ?
It is possible to have been influenced by Ingmar Bergman's Scenes from a Marriage. That's a film I really loved when I saw it in college, and was delighted to see again two years ago. It still feels extremely cruel and intense, despite its somehow theatrical atmosphere that makes it a bit dated.
What do you think of the future of Romanian cinema?
I think in the past two-three years new dishes got on the menu and it can only be good for Romanian cinema. No one can complain anymore that the films look alike. But funding-wise, it is important the National Film Center works properly.
What are your projects? You talked about revolution, family, and social matter; what's next?
I don't have the story of my next film yet, but I tend to do films on subjects not necessarily close to me. It's something that concerned me 15 years ago, when I was making documentaries. Let's see...
When you did Exit I wished you to stay angry. Have you?
I don't think I am angry anymore. I drink less lately though.