April 26, 2020No Comments

Father Lucian

Here's a bonus picture of the great Cristian Fierbințeanu, took earlier in March in Bucharest. The man's a great artist and the lead figure in my upcoming short "The Unreal Afternoon of Father Lucian".

Pictured here upon hearing the news the I added a spoon of sugar in his coffee.

Yes, he's THAT bitter.

April 1, 2020No Comments

Ten Years After

Of course I was in a band once.

March 10, 2020No Comments

Bilet de iertare – a film by Alina Șerban

I say this in all humbleness: I'm so forever grateful to Alina Șerban for including me in her latest project, the short film "Letter of Forgiveness", as an actor of all things. The amazing part: I even got to say a line.

The film tells the story of Dinca, a young Roma slave in XIX century Walachia and Alina both directed and stared in the film as Dinca's mother.

Out (hopefully very) soon.

March 6, 2018No Comments

One Week Max Two is the title of my first short film. 
A year in the making, from head to toe. 

July 22, 2017No Comments

Breaking News, Iulia Rugină, 2017

Breaking News, a post-New Wave Romanian Cinema effort directed by Iulia Rugină, follows the story of one TV reporter who’s cameraman gets crushed to death during a live-event. Pushed by guilt and some at least awkward journalism standards from the part of his employees, our man has to do a story on his dead colleague and to transmit live from the funeral. Yes.

And, as if it’s not quirky enough, our man decides that the best way to make a meaningful TV show on his colleague is to contact the dead man’s teenage hormonally-infested daughter and work a meaningful relationship in front of our eyes. The arc of the story becomes clear. The daughter is wild & uncontrollable & hates her dead father for being an absent asshole -» the daughter accepts father was actually a nice guy and decides to talk for the camera. 

The film shows its director trying to make the cross into the social realism from her previous lighthearted films. Which despite all faults is commendable. The final frame is the film’s best. 

July 18, 2017No Comments

The Party, Sally Potter, 2017

Sally Potter is an unusual film director making unusual films. Orlando or Rageare good examples of her cinema where form itself has center role. The Party is also a form-monster, packing seven highly distinct characters inside one house, for a comedy of errors that would make Carlo Goldoni blush. Highly enjoyable and tight, theatrical in DNA, the film is a brave follower of other previous examples from film’s history, simply called The Party.

July 14, 2017No Comments

Winter Light, Ingmar Bergman, 1963

You know the faux whining and funny facing when being asked about all time favourites. Well, I always play the pretentious intellectual, I huff and I puff and let a “weeeell… it’s actually impossible to compare” shit. 

To hell with the impossibility to compare and classify. 

Ingmar Bergman is not even probably the best director in the world. 

He simply is THE best. This human was better at making film than anybody. (Where making film means constructing layers of simultaneous ideas at once mainly through the use of a visual language.) Each film he drops from the past to a freshman’s eyes is a BOMB. Winter Light is no exception. Here, through the mouth of his main character - a priest in a small town’s deserted parish -  Bergman chases nothing less than one question: Is there a God? 
To which the answer comes: “If there is no God, would it make any difference?”

June 22, 2017No Comments

Planeta Petrila, Andrei Dăscălescu, 2017

Planeta Petrila, the Romanian documentary following the story of one local artist (Ion Barbu) and the mining complex whose derelict buildings he tries to save from demolition, is bound for glory. Unremembered is the last time that a story brought such wonderful balance between the colour of the artist’s work and the greys of the mine, his free spirit and the squared officials, between the petty financial interest of the local authorities and the genuine humanism of the the mine workers, between hope and despair. Ion Barbu the artist & Cătălin Cenușă the miner bring unending humor and life to screen but it really is Andrei Dăscălescu’s impeccable taste in mixing tons of visual and audio elements that creates the cinematic experience of the year, made in RO.

May 28, 2017No Comments

Personal Shopper, Oliver Assayas, 2016

Personal Shopper is melting pot of blesses and curses. For one it’s driven by Kristen Stewart who’s taking the world by storm. The young woman is magnetising to look at. She thinks on screen and she could carry a silent film from beginning to end. It’s proposing a story based on a good premise. In this day and age, Kristen’s character is a medium, connecting to spirits and all, but since it’s not something that pays the rent, she’s the personal assistant of a celebrity, for whom she’s buying clothes and jewellery. A while ago, she lost her twin brother, also a medium, who made a pledge to her, that he’ll make contact from the other world. Great, let’s roll!

But it’s at this moment that curses begin to abound. For the script offers us a fake lead in the form of sms texts that Kristen receives, suggesting they might come from the other world. It doesn’t take long before this gets silly. And in a brutal lack of imagination we get to spend an awful amount of time being forced to read texts off the screen of an iPhone. Some CGI ghosts begin to hover as well. Stories listened (over youtube) about painter Hilma af Klint and writer Victor Hugo making contact as well are placed as to convince us. Glasses fall out and break out of the blue. 

BUT, for all its quirkiness, the film still manages to be evocative. It’s quite heavy at times, quite sexy as well. It’s choices are fresh at many times. Just don’t let that Cannes “Best Director” accolade put too much pressure on it. Or you.

Oliver Assayas and Kristen Stewart’s previous effort together, Clouds of Sils Maria is a masterpiece.

(Award was ex-aequo-ed with our own national pride, Cristian Mungiu’s “Baccalaureate”)

May 28, 2017No Comments

David Brent Life of the Road, Ricky Gervais

David Brent, Life on the Road is more tragedy than comedy for Ricky Gervais is merciless in scrubbing the floor with his best known character, the guy from the original Office. Film follows the same faux verite style of the Office, and you’d want nothing but that. Problem is that the character is older now and a blanket of decay and unchangeability hovers over it. He hasn’t grown any wiser since last time, but he’s even more sleazier, lonelier and lost. He’s a tragic character.

And an exceptionally crafted one. He resembles a cigarette filter, like all the western man’s horrid traits that one looses growing up stopped in him. Gervais is king.

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© Bogdan Stamatin 2020