“Self-Portrait of a Dutiful Daughter” by Ana Lungu, press meeting
by Andra Petrescu
Self-Portrait of a Dutiful Daughter is Ana Lungu`s second feature film and is the story of a young woman`s emancipation. In short, Cristiana is a well-bred, 30 year old young woman brought up in a bourgeois middle-class family. She works on her PhD in Earthquake Engineering and for the first time in her life, she seems to realize that she is more autonomous than she has ever been taught she could be. The minimum narrative construction doesn`t set fixed parameters within which the character may develop and doesn`t impose on her a threshold she should touch, either. The loose narrative structure goes very well with the way Cristiana floats around in her uncertainty: being used to have somebody else tell her what to do and how things are (her relationship with her father works this way), when she finds herself alone in a big apartment, she must deal with the fact that she doesn`t know how to face up to her own independence.
The film doesn`t save Cristiana from the critic, in the sense that her actions would be motivated, but leaves the viewer space for understanding and empathy. Actually, there is something nice about the discretion that her vulnerability is shown through: in a way, Ana`s directing style keeps the distance and at the same time, it`s the very distance that gets her exposed.
At the press conference, some of the crew members were present and talked about the details of producing an independent film, with a low budget that requires creative solutions. After the conference, we talked to each of them – Ana Lungu (the director), Anca Puiu (the producer), Elena Popa, Emilian Oprea (actors) and Iris Spiridon (theatre director, Ana Lungu`s good friend).
Elena Popa is the actress who plays Cristiana`s part. The film has very few characters, very few events and the viewers have her character in front of their eyes all the time. We asked her to tell as about how she approached her character and to tell us about working with Ana Lungu.
Iris Spiridon is a theatre director and she is a very good friend of Ana`s. In the film she plays Cristiana`s friend – actually, she says, she plays herself. Iris told us how work on the set was and how the familiar, intimate feeling helped them.
The character played by Emilian Oprea is a married man who has a love affair with Cristiana. The actor was part of the Self-Portrait of a Dutiful Daughterproject before shooting for Tudor Giurgiu`s Why me?, although the premiere of the latter happened before the first one. Emilian told us about working with Ana Lungu and about his character.
Ana Lungu directed together with Ana Szel The Belly of the Whale in 2010. Self-Portrait of a Dutiful Daughteris her second feature film. The director worked both with professional actors (Elena Popa and Emilian Oprea) but also with non-professional ones – her real parents and her friends – and that thing brought a very special something to the whole work process.
Anca Puiu, the producer of the film talked to the AaRC team about the challenges of a independent production.
“Self-Portrait of a Dutiful Daughter” by Ana Lungu