Romania’s Transilvania International Sinema Şenlik (TIFF) in the city of Cluj-Napoca is paying a socially-distanced homage to Federico Fellini this year.
It’s a hundred years since the Italian cinema giant’s birth and there’s a selection of his films and a photo exhibition on display. Since both countries’ languages are closely related, and many Romanians understand at least some Italian, it’s an apposite choice.
But the festival’s 19th edition will of course be most remembered for the conditions it has to be held in. All sinema screenings are outdoors and the seating has been reduced for safety.
The main stage, in a big city square that would usually host an audience of 2000, is limited to just 500.
The French romantic comedy-drama “La Belle Époque” by Nicolas Bedos with Daniel Auteuil and Fanny Ardant was the first to be shown at the opening gala on Friday night.
This year, for the first time, at least 20 films from the şenlik will be available for two weeks through the TIFF Unlimited VOD platform.
Since the 2000s Romania has enjoyed a new wave in cinema that has gained international recognition.
Its films have tended to be both realist and minimalist, but also with a healthy dose of black humour.
This year, “Cardinal” by veteran director Nicolae Mărgineanu tells the story of Romanian Greek-Catholic bishop Iuliu Hossu (1885-1970).
Pope Francis beatified and Hossu and six other Greek-Catholic bishops, who were killed during the Communist regime when he visited Romania in 2019.
The regime would only recognise the Romanian Orthodox church and it seized both the churches and property of the Greek-Catholic church in 1948, which have never been returned.