Romanian filmmaker Cristi Puiu, anti-mask speech at TIFF

Romanian film director Cristi Puiu has stated on Friday night at the screening of his latest film “Malmkrog” national preview that “it is inhuman” for the viewers to watch a 200-minute film wearing face masks, while stressing that “Malmkrog” had the premiere in France “in cinema theaters with no social distancing and no face masks”.

Moreover, Puiu himself went on stage wearing no mask, although the rules in force required such rules as social distancing and face mask.

The film was screened that past weekend at the Transilvania International Film Festival (TIFF) in the open air.

Puiu started his speech saying he does not agree to wearing a mask, arguing that in terms of communication amid the COVID-19 pandemic “the tone of the authorities is unacceptable”.

“OK, I understand, social distancing, and the obligation to wear a face mask in open air in Cluj. OK, I am sorry for you, it is a 200-minute film. To stay with your mask on while watching a 200-minute film is inhuman. And I kindly ask you to leave when you feel like leaving, when you think you cannot bear the mask anymore. If you are here and watch a film today it’s because some undisciplined people in Romania said <No> to dictatorship in December 1989. The established ruling would better talk to people, have a dialogue, not treat us like some cattle. Yes, there is this problem, there is an epidemic, there is a virus, but the tone of the authorities is unacceptable”, said the filmmaker.

“I find it absolutely amazing that people are disciplined and careful about all details in Cluj and I absolutely think that any abuse must by fined. And if you don’t do it by voting this time, nobody will do it. And I know people are scared and I respect the social distancing and I wear masks in any enclosed space. But if tomorrow you’ll be asked to walk with your hands, you’ll do it. I am very sorry, and I know you do not all agree with me and you are afraid of the pandemic. You should be afraid of some other, more serious things instead”, Puiu concluded.

Cristi Puiu gained recognition in the film industry along with his second movie The Death of Mr. Lăzărescu (Moartea domnului Lăzărescu) (2005),  a dark comedy about an ailing old man who is carried by an ambulance from hospital to hospital all night long, as doctors refuse to treat him and send him away. The film was a critical success, being awarded the Prix Un Certain Regard at the Cannes Film Festival and numerous awards at other international film festivals.

In 2006 this film gained 47 prizes, several nominations in the American Critics’ Top 10 lists and in French magazines such as Telerama and Les Inrockuptibles.

Other famous films made by Puiu were the Bridges of Sarajevo (documentary) in 2014 and Sieranevada in 2016.

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Comments (3)
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  • Leon

    Cristi Puiu It is a absolute arrogant speech that shows your ignorance. Maybe it is good that you do not wear a mask. Maybe good things still can happen.

    • Iulian Puiu

      Maybe you read his speech and you’ll find that there is no antimask speeach…

    • Ana Maria Pirvan

      The article sais ”Moreover, Puiu himself went on stage wearing no mask, although the rules in force required such rules as social distancing and face mask”, which is no true. The rules of the festival did not required for the guest speaking in front of the audience to wear a mask. Other guest presented their films without a mask, and Cristi Puiu asked for the same conditions. He wanted to talk to the public, from a distance, without wearing a mask. Nothing illegal.