The success of the Romanian cinema in the last decade or so did not spring up from nothing. Although the cinema in Romania was more strictly censored and controlled by propaganda during the Communist period, a handful of talented directors existed and they made a few good or at least decent films in a difficult ideological environment, with very little technical means. One of these directors was . Something strange happened though with him and most of the film directors in his generation after 1990. With some exceptions they seem to not have been able to use to the best the freedom of expression (political and stylistic) or to adapt to the technical progress that became soon and fast available. Many of their films seem to be stoned in the past, repeating mistakes and perpetuating stereotypes that belong to a different era. Pita’s Kira Kiralina is a good example on this respect – a cinematographic failure on almost any respect.

 

sursa http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2497852/

sursa http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2497852/

 

Kira Kiralina brings to screen a story by – a writer of Romanian origin who charmed the French readers in the 1920s with his stories of passion and brigands located in the the North of the Balkans and especially in the cosmopolitan area of the last hundreds of kilometers of the Danube course before reaching the Black Sea. It’s a fascinating zone, a land of legends and passions which could be the stage of great stories and movies. The problem with the script written by  and the screen version of  is that they did not create a cinematographic vision parallel to Istrati’s text, but rather chose the easy path of having a screen character read the story off-screen and what we see on screen is kind of an illustration of this reading. If we put together the scenes where the main character remembers and reads loudly the episodes of his childhood and troubled teens age, we probably get many minutes with the actor smoking and writing on the same sheet of paper. Such techniques are maybe fit to TV theater or low cost TV dramas, but not to big screen movies. Story telling is broken, more an exemplification of the monotone reading of the book text. Characters are introduced by the voice of the story teller and not but what they achieve themselves on screen. Some of the action scenes are a complete failure, like the dramatic shooting between the sadistic father of the two kids, and the brothers of the mother, or the revenge scene taking place a few years later.

 

(video source RollerCoaster PR)

 

The cinematography of a few of the scenes (filmed out-doors) and the exceptional costumes (designed by Oana Paunescu ) offer a glimpse of what this movie could have been. Unfortunately, they are just exceptions and the overall conception fails to provide a credible description of the world at the mouths of the Danube at the end of the 19th century and of the heroes created by Panait Isrtrati. The orthography even of the name of the film (‘Kira Kiralina’) is different in the distribution from the one of the poster (‘Kyra Kyralina’) and for some reason unknown to me different from the one used in the Romanian versions of the book (‘Chira Chiralina’). Actors work is irrelevant, they all seem stiff on screen, fresh newcomer faces as well as the known Romanian actors in the cast. The very last two scenes of the film (even if one of them us too verbose) happen after the story teller task was completed, and they give a hint of what this film could have been if a different approach was chosen. It’s too little and too late.