Berlin international Film Festival: Radu Jude wins Silver Bear for directing ‘Aferim!’


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The film to be released in Romanian cinemas as of March 6. 

Romanian film director Radu Jude has won the Silver Bear for Best Director for the feature film “Aferim!” at 65th edition of the Berlin Film Festival gala, which had taken place on Saturday evening at the Berlinale Palast, Mediafax informs.
Director Radu Jude said on the stage in Berlin Palast that had he knew he is to win such a major award he “would have been more seriously when he filmed” the feature film “Aferim!”
The Romanian director thanked the team, noting that, in fact, the prize belongs to them.
Radu Jude said he hoped this award might be a message for the Romanian relevant institutions to support the cinema.
“Aferim!” is a historic film whose action takes place in Walachia at the beginning of the nineteenth century. The film presents a land tenant, played by actor Teodor Corban, accompanied by his son (actor Michael Com?noiu) both looking for a fugitive gypsy slave (actor Toma Cuzin).
Radu Jude was in competition with big names in world cinema such as Werner Herzog, Terrence Malick, Peter Greenaway and Jafar Panahi, Agerpres informs.
In this section two prizes have been awarded. The second Silver Bear for best director was won by Ma?gorzata Szumowska for the movie “Body”.
Titled after an old Turkish word meaning “bravo!”, the story takes place in the mountainous southern region of Wallachia in 1835, a time when Romania was still caught in the imperial crossfire between Turkey, Russia and Austria. Teodor Corban stars as Costandin, a boisterous police constable employed as a bounty hunter by local nobleman Boyar Iordache Cindescu (Alexandru Dabija) to recapture Carfin (Cuzin Toma), a fugitive gypsy slave who made a potentially deadly error by giving in to the sexual demands of his master’s wife Sultana (Mihalea Sirbu), informs.
Scouring the majestic mountain landscape on horseback with his callow teenage son Ionita (Mihai Comanoiu) acting as his deputy, Costandin recalls John Wayne in The Searchers, only with the racist and sexist subtext of John Ford’s iconic western writ large. He also loves the sound of his own voice, forever sharing his pompous wisdom and salty humor with anyone who will listen. He has a special fondness for bawdy rhymes, crude aphorisms and bitter curses. “May he live three more days, counting yesterday” he sneers after a fractious encounter on the road.
Costandin and Ionita apprehend Carfin, picking up another runaway gypsy slave in the process, a skinny little boy called Tintiric (Alberto Dinache). As they journey home, father and son celebrate by sharing the services of a prostitute at a rowdy inn (“don’t tell your mother”). But on learning that their prisoner faces punishment for sexually humiliating his master, Ionita raises ethical questions about returning him. As a compromise, both agree to ask the nobleman for leniency. However, Cindescu disdainfully swats away their pleas before personally enforcing his brutal revenge.
Aferim! meanders a little in its opening act, which is essentially a string of random conversations on horseback. The slender plot, fairly unsympathetic protagonists and steady flow of coarse, slang-heavy Romanian dialogue may also test the patience of viewers expecting a more conventional costume drama. But do not be fooled by the playful, irreverent tone. Behind its attractive surface sheen of lusty humor and ravishing visuals, this Trojan Horse drama makes some spiky topical points about the lingering toxic effects of slavery, feudalism, misogyny and racism, has commented.

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