Contradictions are interesting, I like to explore them in films: Romanian director Radu Jude | Hollywood - Hindustan Times

Contradictions are interesting, I like to explore them in films: Romanian director Radu Jude

May 23, 2024 03:03 PM IST

Contradictions are interesting, I like to explore them in films: Romanian director Radu Jude

New Delhi, Romanian director Radu Jude says his latest film "Don't Expect Too Much From The End Of The World" initially began with a simple desire to explore the life around in his country without worrying too much about its larger resonance in the world.

Contradictions are interesting, I like to explore them in films: Romanian director Radu Jude
Contradictions are interesting, I like to explore them in films: Romanian director Radu Jude

The black-and-white satire, hailed by critics for capturing the current state of the world, straddles many themes and ideas about gig economy, capitalism and social media madness throughout its two hours and 40-minute-long run.

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"My desire was simple, just to try and describe the life around in Romania and express it in a cinematic way the best I could, relevant or not. Judging from reactions, it seems that it captures something of living in today's world, not just in Romanian society. But a film's relevance is not in my control," Jude told PTI in an interview.

At the centre of the film is Angela, an overworked production assistant. Her many duties include finding right candidates for a corporate safety video for her multi-national company looking to improve its image. Desperate workers who have been maimed in the company's factories are coerced to lie about workplace mishaps in the video.

Thanks to the nature of her job, Angela, played by Ilinca Manolache, spends most of her time on the congested roads of Bucharest. When not hustling, she transforms into Bobita, a social media persona parodying a real-life misogynistic influencer facing criminal charges.

"Don't Expect Too Much From The End Of The World" is available on MUBI, the global distributor, streaming service and production company.

Jude, one of the most prominent names in Romanian cinema today, has made a mark with his exploration of the many absurdities of modern age through his films such as "The Happiest Girl in the World", "Aferim!", "Uppercase Print" and "Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn".

"It's impossible to live on an empty island outside of social norms, only billionaires can. Everything is commodified for better or for worse. And that's one of the things I am interested in," he said, adding that "I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians" dealt with "how even protests are now commodified or become a part of mainstream discourse and can be ineffective in the end".

"I don't see a way that one can escape that. You have to live with this contradiction... And I like contradictions, I like to explore them in films. Things are interesting when they are contradictory. They are funny like a Moliere comedy," he said, referring to the famous French playwright.

It is difficult for him to pinpoint the origin of the movie but he traces it to his job as a production assistant "in the industry of creating images" about 26 years ago.

Some stories happened to him directly, while others he heard or witnessed and eventually decided to weave into the tapestry of the movie.

"Some experiences are more symbolic while others are more relevant to the landscape, at least of Romania. You can see that only when you look back. A few years ago, I decided to look back and explore these things.

"Also, this is a film about the economy in a sense and not many are made on the topic because they are boring. It may be the case with mine as well, I don't know," he said.

"Don't Expect Too Much..." premiered at the main competition of the 2023 Locarno Film Festival where it won the special jury prize. It was also screened at the Toronto International Film Festival and the New York Film Festival. It was selected as Romania's entry in the Best International Feature category for the 96th Academy Awards.

The reviews have been glowing with international critics hailing the film for the way it mirrors the real world problems and anxieties. But Jude initially thought otherwise because the film was rejected by some film festivals.

"Actually, the first signs were very negative. I thought it's a complete failure because some festivals rejected it and others disliked it... But I am in favour of failures, one of the things that should be taught in schools and even in film colleges is how to fail and what to do with it," he said.

"In the professional life of a filmmaker, the possibility to fail or to be unsuccessful is very high. One of the things that people don't know is how to transform that. I also don't know but I try to learn little by little."

While most of "Don't Expect Too Much..." is in black-and-white, the 47-year-old filmmaker, a prominent face of the Romanian new wave, has interspersed its visuals from a 1981 Romanian film "Angela Goes On", about a woman taxi driver navigating the streets of Bucharest.

She, like his protagonist, is also named Angela.

Jude has also included a montage of hundreds of gravestones alongside the roads of Romania where people have lost their lives in traffic accidents.

Citing the works of American painter and graphic artist Robert Rauschenberg, the filmmaker said he is interested in creating collages in his cinema.

"This is part of the cinema grammar but somehow not used in this way at least. Some filmmakers have used it like Eisenstein and others.

"I don't paint myself but I am interested in painting work and collage. If you study Rauschenberg, one of my heroes, you can guess how his mind was operating while putting together all kinds of images, materials, colours and techniques... The overall aspect was much more important than the parts themselves. I tried to focus a little bit on it for this film," he said.

"Don't Expect Too Much..." also features noted German actor Nina Hoss, Katia Pascariu, Sofia Nicolaescu and German filmmaker Uwe Boll in a cameo.

This article was generated from an automated news agency feed without modifications to text.

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