and amazing insightful review by Nikola Gocić
for our film shoot in Berlin in 2015
its such an amazing feeling when you find in another the magic understanding of Nikola towards your work
that seldom people have courage to feel and go with to the end
thank you soo soo much Nikola
you should see his blog, he has some amazing reviews
Philippe Grandrieux meets Šarūnas Bartas under a leaden sky in Andrei Stefanescu’s sophomore feature – a lyrical, genre-defying meditation on love, guilt, distress, solitude, friendship, madness and the irreversible loss of oneself during the unstoppable decent into nothingness.
A spiritual sequel to an off-kilter, nihilistic, (anti)romantic ‘drama’ Sleep Awake (Dormi Trezeste-te), #Beings is a highly unconventional piece of (no-budget) cinema; an almost wordless, unapologetically gloomy poem which plunges you into the innermost depths of human soul.
It focuses on three young people who seem to have been stripped of their very essence and turned into somnambulists, completely unaware of the unforgiving reality. Teo (Catalin Jugravu) is a photographer who is so enamored with his job, he barely notices his girlfriend Eva (Doro Höhn) and their mutual friend Ana (Andrea Christina Furrer). They look for affection, yet they ostracize each other in times of need, isolating themselves in the suffocating cocoons of despair.
Although we know nothing about them, their pain is almost tangible, materialized in the air surrounding both them and us, the viewers. It is hardly a pleasant experience, but it is deeply felt, especially if you are prone to fits of melancholy. And the moody atmosphere – supported by ominous humming and occasionally bordering psychological horror – is so thick you can taste its bitterness.
In order to capture the protagonists’ tortured mental and emotional states reflected on their faces – in subtle microexpressions and/or eyes gazing into foggy distance – Stefanescu mostly employs close-ups and mid-shots to great effect. His portraiture is simultaneously intimate and cold, his film immersive and alienating, set in the world of eternal grays.
There is not even a glimmer of hope on the horizon, which is aptly emphasized by the poignant, disturbingly calm finale playing out against the backdrop of sunset over Teufelsberg…
After a superb review on my latest film, #Beings, here, the film critic Maria Mantaluta asked me a few beautiful questions about filmmaking and my work.
M.M.: I’m not sure how well, or even if, our readers know you (even after the review for one of your films, #Beings), so why don’t we start with a short introduction.
P.S.: Amateur filmmaker
M.M.: That was very short indeed, so I’ll just add that Paul Stefanescu is a passionate filmmaker (not sure about the amateur part, but so be it), who’s not only making films (…and other arts) but also hosted film screenings in Bucharestand is a breathing, moving performer. Personally, I always felt that your social media accounts are more like an on going virtual performance. But it’s not me speaking here, so let’s get back to our questions.
What can you tell us about your older projects?
P.S.: #Beings and Sleep-Awake, two “exorcism” films, as someone once described them. –
If that doesn’t make our readers curious, I don’t know what will.
M.M.: How did you start making films? What’s your relationship with film schools?
P.S.: It’s a bit more complicated. My first encounter with film was in UNATC ( the National University of Theatrical and Cinematographic Arts “Ion Luca Caragiale Bucharest), but it took me like 10 years to find my own direction in film, and in the way of making it, in which to truly believe. Making film is hard, and you need deep beliefs, to be able to “sacrifice” your whole life for a few film scenes. It took me a long time to grasp a meaning of art and to discover what is art in me. And what in me would matter to others. A never ending search for truth.
In what concerns film schools, my only contact was with UNATC, a good place to form a network and to develop a sort of passion for film. Even so, I do not advise anyone willing to learn film to follow a Romanian film school. For us, in Romania, school seems to be, still, a poetical act.
M.M.: What do you aim for when you’re making films, what are your expectations? From yourself, from the “final cut”, from the public?
P.S.: It’s a classical route in art, first, you have a revelation – an understanding of something that is beyond linguistic discourse, especially if you are “a visual creature”. And then, you try to bring what you’ve understood, which is circumstantially dependent on a narrative and dramatic context, to an existential form.
It’s an emotional, intuitive and deep process. Of course, if you choose this creative path. What interests me the most is rediscovering the essences and being aware of them – that’s at the core of my stories.
I try to be totally honest. It’s really hard. And during the making of a film, being honest with your story, with yourself and with the essence you want to depict, all shape a different world. A world that pays for the effort, the pain, and the fight of keeping oneself open to it. And not only to the story, but it’s really important to stay open and true with the people you’re working with, and observe their own way of relating to the story. It’s a magical process. For me. For the people, I work with. For the public.
I, like Claire Denis, wish for the public to watch my films in the most open intimacy. Not collectively in a hall. My films are whispers to the soul. That’s why only a few can accept them, decipher them and connect with them. It’s hard nowadays to be totally open in this world.
M.M: I know your interest goes beyond film, and covers other visual arts as well, or better said, your interest is in Visual Arts. What place does film have in this scheme?
P.S.: Film isn’t film anymore for me. It stopped being a label, a definition of an artistic product. Film is simply a medium, like words. Normally, film means a complex process of production and distribution. The rest is art. Read more… »
#CASTING pentru proiectul microbudget Camera Mica – un proiect de film underground de lung metraj produs de Qualiafilm scris si regizat de Paul Stefanescu
15zile de filmare la inceputul lunii Iulie in Bucuresti
Camera Mica este proiectul care dintre cele multele pe care am incercat sa le promovez si-a gasit un minunat co-producator care aduce intreg echipamentul, locatiile, masinile din film si multe obiecte necesare din scenografie si chiar ceva fonduri si ajutor pe partea de postproductie.
Si desigur, chiar cu tot acest minunat ajutor, tot avem nevoie de ajutorul si suportul vostru pe partea de promovare si distributie/promovare mai apoi.
Si acesta este si un apel catre toti cei cu care ne cunoastem si ca si pina acum din jena mea de a va intreba daca vreti sa veniti in proiect, astept cu mare mare draag mesajul vostru. <3
#Amala – 20s-30s – female, edgy, almost crazy all the time, intense – top only nudity
#Gloria – 14-16 yo female – daughter of Amala, morbid passive violent type.
#John – 30s – male English speaking, the British husband of Amala – reasonable polite patient
#Morven – 20s 30-s male, contemplative, spiritual passive man
#Vilho – 40s – male, contemporary art curator and mafioso
#Paul – late 20s – heroin junkie type, assistant to Vilho the mafioso
#Omny – 20s-30s – female, shy, skinny, sick looking – with a small baby if possible
#TaxiDriver – 30s – muscular gang looking compassionate and a family man
small roles – #Mother 55s, #Father 55s, #PoliceOfficer 30s
professional or non-professional actors or artists interested in our direction of filmmaking
assistant producer/organizer – with car
makeup – special effects – knife wounds, blood wounds, wild dirty
sound recording team
[all cast and crew must be interested in body metaphor and the poetics of intimacy]
[the script is free to read, either here or on my blog qualiafilm.com]
[please be sure to check our past projects before applying. it would be so nice to know something about my direction as film and art before wanting to join this project]
Just to write it here as well
With #Beings we were accepted to four festivals until now.
Hong Kong Arthouse Film Festival
Straight-Jacket Guerrilla Film Festival
Venice Film Week
Martinique Film Festival
A breathtaking review by Morgan Shnier
The 2015 film #Beings, Andrei Stefanescu’s second feature, is a partially experimental, partially narrative cinematic reflection on guilt, beauty, and obligation. The film tells the story of Eva (Doro Höhn), her estranged lover Teo (Catalin Jugravu), and their mutual friend Ana (Andrea Christina Furrer) who attempts to support the two as each falls into madness and melancholy. After Eva suffers a seizure, Teo kicks her out in a rage. Despite Eva’s efforts, they fail to reconcile, and Eva breaks down over the imperfections she sees in herself, imperfections that she believes prevent Teo from loving her. At the same time, Teo begins to mentally and physically break down. Ana, stretched between her friendship with Eva and her own love for Teo, attempts to help both of them, but is unsuccessful. Eva, wanting to escape her own skin, instead escapes from city life, at least for a moment, by lighting out alone into a decaying industrial wasteland, facing west toward the setting sun.
The film’s lead actors play their roles admirably. In particular, Höhn effectively and realistically portrays Eva’s anguish. Furrer should also be lauded for the subtleties of her performance. With subtle gazes and facial tics, she elegantly portrays Ana’s own suffering and anxiety.
Aesthetically, #Beings is perhaps at its best when Stefanescu allows the camera to linger upon his characters’ bodies. In carefully framed close-ups and medium shots throughout the film, Stefanescu traces the strange topographies of the everyday human body, treating the body as something observable yet unknowable. Early self-reflexive shots in the film’s opening scene subdivide actor Piotr Bockowski’s body like a series of anatomical diagrams. In contrast, certain shots of Teo in the film’s second half are almost painterly, with one sequence in particular heavily evocative of Jacques-Louis David’s La Mort de Marat.
Likewise, the film’s closing sequences in Teufelsberg are a practice in post-modern sublimity. While Stefanescu generally avoids traditional compositional structures in #Beings, these final shots have a classical, almost pastoral sensibility, with Eva bracketed on both sides by the derelict radar domes of the location’s former NSA listening station. This lends the scene an air of decay and suspicion entirely appropriate to Eva’s own feelings toward her own body.
However, #Beings is not without its faults. Stefanescu tends toward long shot durations that give the film a rather slow, halting rhythm that does not always jibe with the plot. Likewise, Stefanescu’s micro-budget aesthetic at times detracts from the film’s effectiveness. For instance, his handheld camerawork tends to give even calm, contemplative sequences a rather frenzied air. These scenes would have certainly benefited from a tripod or steadicam.
The film’s sound also has its issues. In most scenes, one can hear the distracting hum of an air conditioner or running water. The soundtrack to #Beings is a series of haunting industrial grinding tones that give an appropriate sense of paranoiac dread but, unfortunately, Stefanescu includes this track in scenes in which it is unnecessary, often drowning out or diluting the effect of the film’s dialogue.
That being said, the film’s beautiful aesthetics more than overcome these relatively minor foibles. #Beings, an excellent sophomore outing for Stefanescu, should not be passed up.
Our second review comes from another poet, his name is Jimmy Lo. It is so wonderful to find that the film you made is just seen by the wrong people. It is so amazing to see how value is nothing more than a collective, group characteristic, and has nothing to do with an universal outlook on life and living.
Giving the film to Jimmy to see and review, it was so wonderful to receive such a great feedback with a real passionate perception of it. It is amazing to see the open heart and mind of a person of which the entire life is build around keeping and opening his eyes more and more wider wider around the mystery of our life.
Thank you soo soo much Jimmy. You can find more about him on his blog, http://iloveyousomething.com/ or twitter https://twitter.com/jimmylorunning
This slow building film explores the strange relationship between three people, as well as their relationship to the spiritual. I found myself pulled into an enveloping mood of inner torture. There is a secret horror film brooding in the background here, thanks to some mysterious characters and an excellent soundtrack, which even includes howling dogs at one point. This creates an interesting cognitive disconnect, as the movie isn’t really a horror film in the conventional sense of the genre, but one about the horrors of being in the world, with other beings.
I really loved the slow pacing of the movie, as it was perfect for the type of questions being asked by the film. The camera lingers on the three main characters just long enough to be uncomfortable, then it lingers even longer. This is very much a movie about deep watching, even meditation. I found myself glued to every tiny movement, every twitch, look, and expression on the character’s faces for clues into their relationship. The long pauses and silences were very effective at bringing this about, and told more than dialogue would have.
I watched this movie as a poem, a poetic exploration of the irrational forces that drive us, and as such it was very powerful. However, I wish there was more of a balance or contrast in tone. I longed for something pedestrian or inconsequentially human as relief from the heaviness. In a way, its strength may also be its weakness. The movie seemed to have established a mood a little too well, and without any lighter moments, it became one extended musical note, getting more and more intense until the end.
I was quite surprised to find out that this movie had no budget, since it looks and sounds fantastic, and is very well acted. The last scene in particular is gorgeous.
I’ve asked Jim if he would have time to see and review our film. He was kind enough to do it and wrote us an wonderful review of the film. Thank you so much.
Jim Erasmus Lime Templeton is an award winning performance poet & writer. He has worked for the BBC, Cambridge University, Hollywood film studios and performed at venues all over the world.
An intimate, voyeuristic and claustrophobic portrayal of the relationship between an epileptic girl, Eva and her boyfriend Teo. After Eva has a seizure in their apartment, Teo throws her out and turns to Eva’s best friend Anna. This event triggers a journey of escape into nothingness for all the characters, some emotionally, some literally.
This is not a film that exists only as a straightforward narrative, it’s a poetic exploration of Eva’s need to escape and her boyfriends guilt and impotent love. #BEINGS says as much in it’s pregnant silences and throbbing soundtrack as it does with it’s naturalistic dialogue. It leaves you to fill in the meaning between the frames, using lingering static shots and pauses to full effect throughout.
You can feel the difficulty the characters have in connecting with each other, as they stumble emotionally and drift around the edges of each moment. One scene where Teo and Eva tentatively begin to kiss in silence has a real power, they take so long to move in, you hesitate with them, the visceral anticipation is agonizing in places. Rather than stuttering your involvement, the pace of the film draws you in, like still waters can transfix you with their beauty, the woven thoughtfulness of each scene is mesmerizing and ambiguous enough to allow the viewer to reach their own interpretation of Eva’s odyssey.
Ultimately #BEINGS is a rewarding watch, full of subtleties, surprises and layers you won’t find in mainstream blockbusters. Solid performances from all the leads help draw you into Eva’s journey. A film to watch with others and discuss afterwards, #BEINGS will stay with you.
The amazing beautiful soul called Trisk wrote a review of our film:
#Beings este un film no-budget, in spiritul cinema du corps, al doilea al lui Paul Stefanescu.
Cele 3 personaje, Eva, Teo si Ana sunt blocate intr-o relatie de iubire amestecata cu dispret si umilinta. In urma unei crize (aparent epileptice) a Evei, relatia ei cu Teo devine inacceptabila, astfel ca decide sa paraseasca triunghiul pentru a-si gasi o alta forma sub care sa se intoarca iubita din nou.
Coloana sonora si prim-planurile prelungi sunt anxiogene, iar senzatia de claustrofobie se instaleaza din primele minute; personajele sunt scoase cu totul in afara confortului propriu si a rutinei placute. Lumea in care traiesc este, pe cat de noua, pe atat de lipsita de stimuli emotionali sau intelectuali. Fiecare din cei trei e prizonier intr-un corp, ca un extraterestru ce poarta un costum din piele de om…
Ca spectator, esti prins intr-un vis greu si apasator, in care mai mult simti ce ti se intampla decat intelegi; ratiunea si pornirea ei critica sunt puse cu totul intre paranteze, ca si cum n-au existat niciodata. Actiunea e o rostogolire subconstienta, fatalista; prin mici insertii mistice, Stefanescu isi duce personajele intr-o zona in care nu mai pot fi “salvate”, ci doar acceptate asa cum sunt.
Read more… »
Fundraising for a new underground film project OBSCUR
an underground film project.
We will PAY for this role, as it is the most difficult one.
In Berlin or Bucharest
Another great review for Sleep Awake, this time in Italy.
“Ogni lingua ha un suo silenzio” (Elias Canetti)
“Il silenzio è il linguaggio di tutte le forti passioni, dell’amore (anche nei momenti dolci), dell’ira, della meraviglia, del timore” (Giacomo Leopardi, Pensieri). Tale considerazione sembra permeare l’intera essenza di Sleep Awake, opera prima e indipendente del cineasta rumeno Andrei Stefanescu.
È un’atmosfera dal forte sapore pinteriano a scandire l’incontro tra i due giovani protagonisti, Irina e Ilie, i quali si scrutano intensamente al parco, intavolano un fugace dialogo e decidono di “consumare” il loro primo ed unico rapporto sessuale fino all’inaspettato epilogo che segnerà la vita di entrambi. Ed è un interminabile silenzio tra un dialogo e l’altro a metaforizzare il turbamento interiore della “coppia per un giorno” e a cadenzare l’espressività e gestualità dei due giovani. Un vero e proprio cinéma du corps, dunque, quello proposto da Stefanescu, concettuale e sensoriale allo stesso tempo. Onirico e viscerale, Sleep Awake si avvale di uno stile strettamente amatoriale (evidente è l’utilizzo della camera a mano per buona parte delle riprese) e documentaristico, con ampio spazio all’improvvisazione recitativa e a brevi ed incisivi monologhi.
Caratteristica dell’opera prima di Stefanescu è, inoltre, una dilatazione e scansione dei tempi narrativi secondo una logica naturale più che filmica. A tal proposito, si pensi alla passeggiata dei due amanti verso casa di lui prima dell’atto sessuale – il tutto cronometrato nei minimi dettagli e con un dosaggio centellinato del montaggio. A fare da sfondo è un utilizzo minimale della colonna sonora, presente in sole due scene chiave del film e intervallata dal suono diegetico di un cellulare che squilla. Attorno al vuoto esistenziale dei due giovani si dipana la desolazione di una Bucarest indifferente e spettrale, quasi ad omaggiare l’immagine straniante della periferia Read more… »
Pe piratebay a aparut un torrent pe 11 decembrie
care a avut 600 de seederi, si 800 de leechersi si este pe toate toate siteurile de torrentzi
acum a ramas la 57 de seederi si 16 leechersi 🙂
Saru-mina mult Pakistanului si lui HotPena
sau oricarui domn care a provocat aceasta explozie minunata de decembrie
Cum spunea Woody Harelson intr-un film despre vicepresedinta lui McCain,
“Everything lasts 48 hours these days”
se intitutleaza – the absolute nothing
“I am very sorry that i can not give zero stars to this “movie”. It is the most wasted time of your life. Long, speechless shots, without meaning just to take some time and not to be a short movie. I am sorry because some people spend time and money for this “movie” and sure they love it but it is the worst movie i have ever seen and i have seen a lot of movies. The theme of the movie is so serious but the “movie” is absolutely ridiculous. Just waste of time and nothing else. Such a waste… Anyway that is just my opinion and just the way i see this film. The best way for you is to watch that “movie” and have your own opinion (if you have 65 minutes to waste). “
iar pe Cinemagia au aparut alte commenturi:
“NU pot sa cred ca ca astia sunt actori, sau regizori, asa ceva trebuie sters de pe fata pamantului, ROMANIA TREZESTETE-TE esti plina de incompetenti, care habar nu au sa vorbeasca apai sa mai gandeasca!!! “
“Nu credeam sa existe un film mai slab decat “Aurora” lui Puiu. si totusi…regizorii romani se intrec pe sine. “
“Cum sa zic…un film care pe alocuri mi-a parut chiar interesant. Scena cu drumul spre casa lui are o incarcatura destul de consistenta. Si monologul de la inceput, cu ” vreau doar sa sug pu_a, nu vreau sa salvez animalele” :)) Daca ar fi avut un plus de dinamica, ar fi fost perfect. Una peste alta, n-as zice ca am pierdut o ora aiurea. Oricum, nu va asteptati sa vedeti Casablanca; e pentru amatorii de filme mai fucked up.”
Nu am mai cautat de mult sa vad daca “Dormi Trezeste-te” mai exista pe net. Azi amintindu-mi am dat un search si am gasit un nou review facut de Tezeu in blogul lui. Primul review care pune accent pe jocul actorilor si pe frumusetea de a face film direct pentru Torrent 🙂
E o bucurie aparte în a primi şi vedea ceva gratis şi există o lejeritate şi o largheţe în a face ceva lipsit de orice aşteptări de piaţă. Pur independent, pur ne-economic, Andrei Ştefănescu a făcut o treabă foarte bună. Asta e artă absolută, cea mai sinceră şi mai dezinvoltă, chiar dacă nu şi cea mai lucrată. Pe deasupra, omu’ ăsta a făcut filmul ăsta pentru el la fel cum eu scriu pe blog-ul ăsta pentru mine. Nu îmi permit să încep a compara cele două eforturi, a face un film, oricât de scurt, nepopulat sau lipsit de locaţii, este un efort enorm, dar îmi permit să cred că îl înţeleg într-o oarecare măsură.
Filmul începe superb. Miriam Rizea, actriţa aleasă (găsită?) pentru rolul principal are o intensitate aparte, o expresivitate uimitoare şi în primele cadre dă tot ce are mai bun. O actriţă de film. Este uimitor cum reuşeşte să te transporte în viaţa personajului, în trăirile şi universul ei intern în câteva foarte scurte minute. Urmează scena din apartamentul ei în care regizorul foloseşte puţin cam prea mult auto-focus-ul, dar fiecare cu pasiunile lui. Aici ea vorbeşte pentru prima oară şi după cadrele iniţiale de singurătate, angoasă, moleşeală, lipsă de vlagă, urbanizare şi detaşare de realitate, personajul nu poate transmite decât lipsa trăirii la intensitatea reală a sexului.
Sexualitatea devine tema filmului, unicul remediu al alienării, singura posibilitate rapidă, scurtă, capabilă de a te apropia de o altă fiinţă. Liantul dintre lumea internă, un loc al Iadului teologic, de exhaustivă singurătate şi lipsit de comunicare şi lumea exterioare, acolo unde alte insuliţe asemănătoare plutesc.
Mi-ar fi plăcut sincer mai mult. Poate o ieşire temporară din visul ficţional iniţial. Un escapism vag al personajului principal din singurătatea iniţială, dar asta nu ar fi schimbat cu mult filmul. Finalul m-a lăsat sincer puţin în ceaţă. Îmi permit să întreb, poate cineva vede filmul şi înţelege mai bine ca mine: în groapă, ea doarme sau e moartă? Nu de alta, dar respira vizibil şi totuşi aş înclina să spun că este moartă, trecând de la cadrul precedent.
Câteva mici probleme tehnice: auto-focus-ul de la început, sunetul a avut probleme de câteva ori, dar una peste alta un film independent bun, care cu puţină migală ar putea merge mult mai departe.
P.S. Am uitat de actor. El, Radu Crăciun, a fost genial. În primele cadre a fost atât de antipatic încât îmi venea să închid player-ul, ceea ce spune multe. Perfect din partea amândoura.
“Mi-a plăcut de Ilie, ciudatul filmului. Un tumblr addict cu mutră tipică de tocilar, care o abordează pe Diana cu tupeul celui care ştie că nu are nimic de pierdut. La fel ca şi în cazul protagonistei – mişto şi natural jucat. Dar tot mai scapă câte o replică aţoasă, gen “nu prea ai frumuseţea aia, stilul revistelor de modă… ştii?… Nu mi-a displăcut în totalitate… ”
Piata Rosetti, nr.5
info: qualia.film [at] gmail
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