Online Magazine Edited by The national union of filmmakers

Film Critics Association 2015 Award for Best Film Journalism

Film Report from Venice 2016: ”First Night”, by Andrei Tănase

    When I saw the PalaBiennale Screening Hall, where the short films from the Orizzonti section were about to be screened - where the only Romanian production was included,First Night (Prima noapte), by Andrei Tănase - I told myself it would feel quite disappointing in a half empty huge hall. In a festival where film stars from all over the world walk by, where the new productions compete with the masterpieces brought to life thanks to the nowadays technology, the short films have to accept being a bit marginalized. That is the reason why the Cannes Film Festival protects them, offering them a more friendly space, as they say. But I was wrong. I lost sight of the fact that Alberto Barbera, the director of the Mostradel Cinema, is particularly proud of being very audience oriented. Special screenings, a new screening room inaugurated this year, Il Giardino, with free access, created a special relationship with the viewers, who became curious and wanted to see more. That is why, the PalaBiennale didn`t prove inadequate after alland that means that the short film of our young filmmaker was seen by an impressive number of viewers. And they will be even more becausethe films will be screened one more time at the beginning of next week. Seen in a multi-continental geographical context, I found that First Night had quite a distinct voice, by means of what our film school has best, its ability to tell a story coherently, in a clear way and to articulate a history which “can say something about cinema and about life as well”, as a maestro once asked. The parents-children relationships, which always represented a tempting and fertile ground for directors belonging to different generations, are approached by Andrei Tănase with a tender humour which doesn`t lack a certain touch of a hidden game of “who`s tougher”. A father (Mimi Brănescu) who is pleased to have an idea for a surprise-gift for his son who is about to turn 16, invites a prostitute for his sexual initiation. The boy (Alfredo Minea) looks a bit funny and lost; he is just as shy as one of the teenagers from Forman`s films from the beginning of his career.
The boy will find another way of crossing that threshold that his father was so anxious about. So to speak, he will do it his way. Andrei Tănase (Claudiu and the Fish, Summer Break) confesses that he “wanted a story about a rather brutal coming of age, in a world in which being a man is a very arguable concept”. If Venice loves us once every few years and when it happens is by tiny drops, like a short film in the Orizzonti section, the Romanian films screened in the cinema theatres in Italy enjoy a special attention. This morning at 7 o`clock, on the Rai Uno news program I listened to a presentation of the Graduation (Un padre, una figlia as it was called here, A father, a Daughter) and a discussion between the journalist and her guest, a film critic. “A perfect film, with thousands of tones” the critic said. And the newspaper I read, La Repubblica, dedicated an entire page to Cristian Mungiu. And that happened in a day when the press of the peninsula gives the festival the lion`s share. And still, why can`t we make Venice like us?

Tags: andrei tanase, bacalaureat film, corespondenta venetia 2016, cristian mungiu, prima noapte film, venice film festival 2016