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Film Critics Association 2015 Award for Best Film Journalism



Festival Report from Valladolid 2015: Why me?...and many other questions


    In a way, Wednesday was the “Romanian day” in Valladolid. The programming brought together on the same competition day of the 60th edition of Seminci (Semana Internacional de Cine) the following film directors: Tudor Giurgiu, whose Why me?was chosen in the official selection, Claudiu Mitcu with his documentary The Network in the section “Tiempo de historia” and a few steps away, in a cinema hall close to the Broadway movieplex, Cristian Mungiu. We can say that Mungiu`s name is found in a kind of a nostalgic chapter, if we can call it like this, but also in a chapter where great values of the first years of our century are acknowledged.
Actually that event was named by the organizers Ineditos. Talentos del siglo XXI and Mungiu and his Occident were in the company of some renown filmmakers that were invited to present the films that they began their careers with, new to Spain, such as: Paolo Sorrentino (L’ uomo in piu), Nuri Bilge Ceylan (Kasaba), Ari Folman (Made in Israel),Yorgos Lanthimos (Kinetta), Christian Petzold  (Die innere Sicherheit).
Returning to our film directors, so far, as we expected, we have no immediate reactions after the film and presence of Tudor Giurgiu, who is well-known here, after two former participations in parallel sections, in 2011 with Superman, Spiderman or Batman and next year with Of Snails and Men, which both received awards.
Giurgiu`s film, part of the official competition this time stirred the media attention and it is only natural because of the topic which, unfortunately, is of universal interest, so to speak – the corruption and its consequences are tragic in our film. One day before the screenings (the one for the press and the gala one), the festival magazine opened the list of questions, which continued yesterday at the press conference, where we went as well, long before, Dana Duma and I; we kept looking behind us to check if the Hall of Mirrors would be filled.
No worries, no empty seat was left, despite the time of the day when it was scheduled, 2 p.m. Most of Tudor Giurgiu`s answers were to be found on a full page of the main newspaper in that region of Spain, El Norte de Castilia. I admit that it`s a joy to notice, for how many times already, that in the world there still is good quality written press, which gives large spaces to cultural events and not only on special occasions. Of course, an international festival is entitled to an even more special coverage.
The price of idealism in a corrupt world is the title of the comment signed by Elena G.Castanon who asserts that “one of the strong ideas of the plot – the moral ambiguity, the difficulty of telling the good guys apart from the bad guys, which flung him into deep confusion and disappointment”. The filmmaker had developed this idea at the above mentioned conference, confessing his being concerned with “finding a flaw in this character that everybody described as being admirable. It is very difficult to be a prosecutor at 29 years old, you can easily be manipulated. He wanted to accomplish a lot, he was an ambitious person.”
Knowing that the script had been based on a true story from 2002, the journalists were curious, as their job requests, and they wanted to find out, if possible in percentages, how much of the story was real and how much was fiction. Tudor Giurgiu took a chance and he said smiling: ”let`s say, 70% versus 30%, remembering that the film was born out of some emotional reaction: I couldn`t understand why a man of my age would commit suicide; It moved me deeply, but I didn`t know any details.”
Later on, around 2007, I met somebody who knew the true story and I understood, thinking of some events from my professional journey as well, that prosecutor Panait can be identified as a lonely man fighting against the system.” A journalist from Argentina brought to our attention a similar case from her country, the suspect death of the most famous Argentinian prosecutor, Alberto Nisman. She mentioned she was stunned by the similarities between the secret services in both our countries.
More than sure, if it hadn`t been for the time pressure, we could have developed the topic of corruption, because we find ourselves, as the general De Gaulle, said, in front of a “vast topic”. Of course, in the verdict of the jury led by the Serbian filmmaker Goran Paskaljevic, the record holder of three Golden Spikes (“Espiga de oro”, the most important award at the Valladolid festival), beyond the emotional impact of the drama, there will be ingredients that refer to the artistic achievement of the film, the taste of the members of the jury, and to the always mysterious balance that brings an award or not.

Tags: de ce eu film, festival valladolid 2015, magda mihailescu, occident film, reteaua documentar, tudor giurgiu

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