48TH THESSALONIKI FILM FESTIVAL
November 16-25 2007
Romanian director, Nae Caranfil gave a press conference on Wednesday November 21 at Warehouse C of the Port in the framework of the tribute to his work by the Balkan Survey section of the 48th Thessaloniki Film Festival. Nae Caranfil was accompanied on the panel by the President of the Thessaloniki Film Festival, Georges Corraface and the coordinator of the Balkan Survey section Dimitris Kerkinos.
Georges Corraface opened the press conference saying: “Nae Caranfil belongs to the first wave of new Romanian cinema. He is an original director who in his films manages to combine surrealism and realism in changing and conflicting Romania”. Mr. Kerkinos asked Caranfil about his experience with filmmaking in Romania. “The people in Romania were rather confused with all the freedom they suddenly had. As for myself, as a director I was rather alone since there were no other young directors at the time”. Caranfil believes that this has changed since 2000 when a group of ambitious, young directors appeared and the political scene changed. “My country seized to be problematic and uncivilized”, he noted and added that Romania’s incorporation into the E.U. played a crucial role as people, and especially the young population, took an interest to cultural events. Caranfil also praised the young generation saying that they were the inspiration for young directors: “They were the only light in the dark Romanian scene of cinema in the 90s”. However, Caranfil isn’t a follower of the modern trend which dictates films that make social remarks and critique. “I prefer to focus on human nature”, he said and added that when he was young, he went to the cinema not to understand his life, but to get away from it. “Cinema for me is entertainment”.
This is why humor plays such an important role in his films, although according to Mr. Kerkinos, Caranfil likes to deal jokingly with serious matters. “When I work I follow my instinct”, he said. “Humor is an great weapon for me, it’s an aggressive weapon”, he said and added that there is always humor behind every serious statement and something bitter behind anything funny. “For me, life and Romania are like a carnival”, he said and added that although the people may not be happy and the country uncivilized, it has a color which he perceives as a giant show which inspires him to make his films. Regarding social critique in films, Caranfil said that the only social remarks made in his films are there to make reality believable. However, he recognizes the difficulty in separating human nature from social critique. “I don’t distinguish it, but it really isn’t my ambition to make a journalist critique which will make my films timeless”, he said. Caranfil also added that after a number of years, a film about a politician will make no sense “nor will people remember what happened back then”.
Regarding his collaboration with France, Caranfil claimed that France is an ideal place for co-productions as there are many programs and generous offerings to foreign productions, especially the little-known eastern European countries. He also distinguished between commercial Hollywood cinema and creative cinema “like the cinema here at the Festival”, revealing however, that he is on the border between them. “It’s good that in previous decades American filmmakers borrowed the opposite from Europe”, he said.
Regarding his latest film The rest is silence, whose title is from Hamlet’s last words, Caranfil noted that it is a story which began 20 years ago when he left from Romania and realized that it would be long before he would come back. “I tried to find a producer but it was hard. They thought I was too young to complete it”. The solution came two years ago from a Romanian producer friend who thought about financing the film using exclusively Romanian funds. “It’s a very personal film even though it seems epic”, said Caranfil.