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April 17, 2021

One more Romanian film at Un Certain Regard: „Dogs”, directed by Bogdan Mirica

Un Certain Regard is one of the most famous sections of the Cannes Festival, being also seen as the gate which, after years, can lead to the coveted selection of the Palme d’Or competition. A list with the great names being here would be clarifying. We’ll not transcribe it in full, but we’ll limit ourselves only to mention the Romanian filmmakers included in this section along time. In 1980, Iosif Demian’s film “A Tear of a Girl” was presented having Dorel Visan in the main role. In 1993, Valeriu Jereghi’s poem “And It Will Be…” with Maria Ploae in the role of The Woman, and having Vivi Gragan Vasile as the director of photography. A real shock is registered in 2005. “Death of Mr. Lazarescu” brings to Cristi Puiu the Prize of the section and the international acknowledgment of the filmmaker’s value. In the next year, 2006, Dorothea Petre gets a special Prize for interpretation for the main feminine role in “The Way I spent the End of the World”, directed by Catalin Mitulescu. The role seemed to be especially created for the young actress’ talent. Cristian Nemescu becomes unforgettable postmortem, through “California Dreamin’ (Endless)”. An omnibus film, “Tales from the Golden Age”, enters the 2009 edition’s program. “Police, Adjective” (2009) reconfirms the special talent of Corneliu Porumboiu, the film director being also awarded for his “unique”, special talent, in 2015, when he presented “The Treasure”. Radu Muntean, now a member of the jury for short films and school films, was applauded in 2010, when he was participating with “Tuesday, After Christmas”. Cristi Puiu was coming back on the banner of the section, in 2010, with “Aurora”.

To take part to the Cannes Festival after such artistic moments, seems to me a great thing for the young filmmaker Bogdan Mirica, who entered the competition at Un Certain Regard with Dogs (Caini), having two screenings at Claude Debussy, at 11.15 am and 4.30 pm (Sunday, May 15); the film was followed by a press conference too. We can ask ourselves who is this filmmaker in the program of the current edition. Graduate of journalism with a degree in communication, being granted in London a master degree in screening and directing, the new comer on the Cote d’Azur has a rich background in television as a writer and director. In 2009, his name was mentioned in his quality of the playwright for the TV movie “Ha Ha Ha”, having Stefan Banica Jr. in the main role. “Bora Bora” (2011) could be considered his debut in film directing, a short film, but with first class actors: Alexandru Potocean (Ion), Mirela Zeta (Maia), Teodor Corban (the Inspector). The young filmmaker was exploring less researched areas, since he wanted to define not only his thematic universe, but the stylistic one, too. In “Las Fierbinti” (2012) he located himself in a small village, sprinkling with humor and sarcasm the intrigues of the electoral climate of the place. The final exam is represented by the eight episodes of the series called “Shadows” (2014-2015). The film is created around Relu and his family (his wife Gina and their two children). The main character lives a double life, being both a taxi driver and a money collector, a man who lives in a mafia world.

Considering the above, we shouldn’t wonder why Dogs borrows the social climate from the above mentioned series, without forgetting the experience of the previous ones. Therefore, we are placed in a isolated village, in Dobrogea, near the Ukrainian border. It’s a mined territory, I would say, a space of fear, a contaminated area, full of obscure tensions. Calmly performed, brought to a certain revealing wisdom, the character of a young man from the city, called Roman (interpreted by Dragos Bucur-photo), comes to take up the land inherited from his deceased grandfather. It’s hard to understand for him from where “Nea Alecu” (as a villager was calling him) had so much land. The policeman Hogas (Gheorghe Visu) has his part oh guilt in this strategy, too, although he seems to be a resigned man of the law: “Don’t be stupid… if you’re smart!…” The young man sees the danger and the target of the local advices related to the sale through the lawyers and notaries, namely by intermediaries. In order to draw the psychological and social climate of this place of fear and of imminence of murder, the filmmaker knew how to make his team of interprets, inviting other relevant experienced names, such as: Vlad Ivanov (Samir), Teodor Corban (Velerim), Costel Cascaval (Pilea), Emilian Oprea (Sebi Voicu).

A Romanian-French-Bulgarian co-production Dogs competes together with other 16 films from Iran, France, Japan, Netherlands, Israel, Great Britain, Finland, Argentina, Italy, USA and Russia.  You can also find on this list screenings aiming to win Camera d’Or trophy, including Bogdan Mirica’s film, which is his first artistic feature film.

Among the films on the poster of the day, you must not miss Loving by Jim Nichols and Petersson by Jim Jarmusch. On Tuesday, May 17, there are around three films included in the main program, out of which two of them (but who knows?) have already excited the public: Julietta by Pedro Almodovar, and Personal Shopper by Olivier Assayas.


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