International Francophone Film Festival in Namur: “Aferim!” wins Golden Bayard for best picture

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Radu Jude’s “Aferim!”, a Romania-Bulgaria-Czech Republic-France co-production, was on the list of award-winners in the final gala at the Royal Theatre in Namur. Like film lovers know very well, this is a film that won the Silver Bear in February in Berlin. This time, at the 30th edition of the International Francophone Film Festival, the film won the Golden Bayard for best picture, a picture owed to young operator Marius Panduru. The story of the film is known, bearing in mind its European preview, as well as its presence on Romanian silver screens. The film tells the story of a dramatic episode in the life of a Gypsy slave (Carfin, played by Cuzin Toma) in the early 19th Century, a runaway slave sought and punished by boyar Candescu (Alexandru Dabija) for an affair with his wife Sultana (Mihaela Sirbu). Captain Constandin (Teodor Corban) and his son Ionita set out looking for him.
We were pointing out in a previous dispatch from Namur that Romanian films have often won prizes at the biggest francophone film festival in the world. Thus, once again we have been able to note that the list of Golden Bayard winners for the best film in the last ten years includes no less than four Romanian films: Cristi Puiu’s “Moartea domnului Lazarescu” (2005), Radu Muntea’s “Marti dupa Craciun” (2010), Radu Jude’s “Toata lumea din familia noastra” (2012) and Calin Peter Netzer’s “Pozitia copilului” (2013). It’s a more than flattering balance sheet. Not to mention other awards won here, such as those for best actors (Luminita Gheorghiu, Serban Pavlu) and the best screenplay, and the presence of Romanian film critics in the jury panels.
The Romanian participation was consistent and appreciated this year too. “Muntele magic,” Anca Damian’s animation film, entered the main competition, while Nicolae Constantin Tanase’s “Lumea e a mea” entered the debut films section. Acting student Ana Maria Guran, who plays the main character, was present at the screenings and at the meetings with the audience. We had the pleasant surprise of noticing that the “Vacanta de vara” short-reel and the “Paper Bag” animation film made a very good impression in the screenings for schoolchildren and teenagers on the final day of the event.
This year the Bayard for the best film was won by a French film. “Tempete” is the story of a family from a fishermen’s locality. After divorcing, the father is taking care of his two children. It is worthy to point out that the characters are played by the family members themselves. Dominique Leborn (playing the father) has won the Bayard for the best actor for his performance. The jury’s award was won by a Belgium-Netherlands co-production signed by Maria Tarantino, a complex portrayal of multiculturalism, an eloquent picture of the complex identity of the inhabitants of the European capital of Brussels. Generous, the jury, led this edition by Belgian actor Olivier Gourmet, has awarded a mention for “Welcome Home,” a Belgian film that evokes the experience of two youths (16 and 18 years old respectively) in the search for freedom. The price of freedom becomes higher than the two expected however. Frenchman Philippe Claudel was appreciated for the dramaturgy of his own film (which he directed) – “Une enfance” – which is also a sad story about the lives of several children whose mother comes out of prison and tries to live up to the day-to-day hardships in a small industrial town. Loubna Abidar won the award for the best actress for her part in “Much Loved,” the story of a prostitute in Marrakech.
The list of awards is longer, but we stop here, reminding our readers once again that Romanian films were at the forefront, continuing a tradition that was naturally confirmed at other great international festivals too.