Monday, April 07, 2008

Filminute's Interview with Palme D'or Winner Cristian Mungiu

In May of 2007, Romanian director Cristian Mungiu's 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days won the prestigious Palme D'or at the Cannes Film Festival. The story of two university students who try to arrange an illegal abortion in the dying days of Ceausescu's Romania, has gone on to win numerous other prizes around the world (including FIPRESCI film of the year) as well as rave reviews from critics including Variety magazine's Jay Weissberg who praised it as "pitch perfect and brilliantly acted...a stunning achievement."

Like many feature filmmakers, Mungiu also makes short films and commercials and is a fan of Filminute. He recently agreed to answer some of our favourite questions.

Filminute encourages filmmakers to pursue creation of one-minute films at the same quality standard we might demand or expect of a full length film or animation. Mungiu added:
  • "Not every 60 seconds of moving images are film" and that distinction is one we ask our filmmakers to reflect upon.

Cristian Mungiu’s Comments about Filminute:
When I look at the Filminute shortlist, I see a great deal of diversity which is good. A few had humor, some others had impressive pictures, some an overall personal visual style. I was also, of course, pleased to see Romanian films on the shortlist

Cristian Mungiu’s Comments on "What Makes A Great Film?
If I was Indian, I would say: Salman Kahn. From an American producer’s point of view, probably it's the star you manage to sign. For Cannes Film Festival it's mostly the style. For us, living in Europe, it's probably the story.

Unfortunately, there is no magical way of knowing before hand what to do to turn your script into a great film. I suppose originality is involved, courage, honesty, a vision about cinema, skills as a story-teller, a good ear for dialogue, talent as a writer and as a virtual-time-handler, knowledge about working with actors, to know what's boring and what's not. It helps to be surprising, it helps to make people curious and interested in what's going to happen next but all this is very general.

Finally some films have more "soul" than others, something that you don't control and that will attract more people to want to see it and make more people appreciate it. But no film will please everybody and, in cinema, quantity is a very relative tool of measuring success.