Often the first work of a writer or moviemaker tends to be biographical -- or at least a liberal lift from the lives and experiences of his own family or friends. But Romanian director Cristian Mungiu -- who shot to glory with his 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, walking away with the Palm d'Or For Best Picture at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival -- waited for his fifth movie to chronicle his own life.
His latest work, called Family Photos, has been inspired by his own life and the experiences of fatherhood. The film, to soon go on the floors, will be about the complexities of parenting and the value of compromise as well as adult behaviour with children.
Family Photos will be Mungiu's first after Beyond the Hills, which was about two young girls in orthodox Romania, each pulling the other towards her own beliefs. The movie won the Best Screenplay Palm at the 2012 Cannes, and also the Best Actress trophy for the two lead characters.Family Photos, unlike Beyond the Hills or 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, will have a male protagonist. Family Photos will also be in the Romanian language and set in that country.
Beyond the Hills by Romanian director Cristian Mungiu deals with faith and friendship in Romania.
During an interview with this correspondent after the screening of 4 Months, Mungiu had said that despite pressure to make a film in English and narrate a story which takes place outside Romania, he had never been comfortable with the idea. He had quipped that he wanted to shoot in a country that he was familiar with, where he grew up, and in a tongue he knew well.
In fact, 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days largely owes its brilliance to a subject which is of paramount interest in conservative Romania and to a language that Mungiu himself speaks. The movie is riveting despite the bleak subject of abortion in the last days of the Communist regime in Romania, where the act was illegal. Mungiu shows us the torturous times a girl goes through in order to abort her foetus, although her friend is extremely supportive and even helps arrange a doctor to perform the procedure. For the three of them, the risk is enormous, and the film takes us on a trip which is fraught with danger.Mungiu who was born in a small eastern Romanian university town of Iasi in 1968, was once a journalist -- covering the dictatorial regime of Nicolae Ceausescu. He was executed during a revolution in 1989.
4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days is a riveting tale on the subject of abortion in the last days of the Communist regime in Romania, where the act was illegal.
Both Beyond the Hills and 4 Months amply reflect Mungiu's own anger over and displeasure with authoritarianism and religious dogmatism. They are also powerful essays on the need to let women have their say, and this includes the right over their bodies.
One is reasonably certain that Family Photos will be as engaging as his earlier works.