Vivi Dragan Vasile about the cinematic essay "Memory in Stone"

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Mr. Dinu Tanase said yesterday at the premiere that "Memory in Stone" could be truly understood only by those who are part of the movie idustry or that have directly participated in the making of the film "The Stone Wedding". What is your opinion?

I do not know if there is something that is to be  understood in this movie because it is only  a remembrance of a famous movie,  a director,a small town and some characters. "The Stone Wedding" is the only Romanian movie purchased by the special video / multimedia  section of the Guggenheim Museum of Modern Art in New York. I think and I hope this film will awaken the curiosity of the young generation to see Mircea Veroiu's and Dan Pita's  movies, The Stone Wedding and The Spirit of Gold. I'd be very happy to see that happen.


Do you think it can also be considered as a movie that stands on it's own?

I think it stands on it's feets as it is, an essay film, broken from the motivation it started with.. Especially since the film talks about a dying town, and about a world that no longer exist, that world Agarbiceanu evoched  in the film about the people that  were figurants for The Stone Wedding that also disappeard. In addition, there is a metaphor of cinema that might die.A black cloth is put on the old film camera .The Black cloth is indeed existing and it has a real equivalent in cinema, but here it  may be read as a kind of bitterness, a sort of premonition that classic cinema might die.


What is Memory in Stone actually ? A cinematic essay, a documentary,a reportage?

I would not call it a documentary, because its means are not appart of a reportage nor of  a document documentary, it is a cinematic essay that shows the personal vision of  Josef Demian the operator for  The Stone Wedding. The film is different, you can not fit it precisely. You can hear people but it is not a film with interviews, you can hear snatches of memories, see places, but they are filmed as a kind of movement, as a flow of time. That's why I say that it is no a documentary, at least not in the classic sense of the word. It is not a  docudrama nor a  reportage. It  is a return in time, in memory, the diary of Josef Demian who comes from  several thousand kilometers, distance, from Australia, back in the country, to an  important city for the filmmaker's history.


The film talks about the failed test,that is  impossible in fact  to actually make a film about a film and trough this it becomes a  film about the  film's film, isn't that so?

Yes, indeed it can also be read like that.Often we try to go back in our memory, in time but we are not  always  able to find the meaning of those times. Perhaps that is also felt in the film, the imposibility to go back in time. How  Demian also says,  he will probably return to try again, if there still is a city, if he still has energy and so on.


What expectations do you have about the audience for this movie'? Estimate how large that might be?

Not too much, in this era where there are  so many  problems in society, I think it will be difficult to capture a wide audience to such a film. Perhaps there is a slice of 0.05% of the public interested in  cinema that will accees  this type of film.



Where can we watch the movie? Will it run in cinemas?

No, the movie does not have a copy of the film projectable in theaters. It was shown on TVR 1 on Laurentiu Damina's friday's show, three weeks ago and  will probably  be shown at  festivals, and one more time on TV . However it  is not a film made for cinema. Of course, there are also  financial reasons for that. I participated in the CNC contest, I asked for a  funding from which I received almost half of what I asked for. The first thing I cut was the transfer to film. Film transfer costs would have been around 30,000 euros, so we could not do that. But trough modern methods it can be projected at the cinema. The film is in digital format, HD, meaning  it has the best formula, except the  film.


Can you tell us something about the movie"Kino Caravan"?

Kino Caravan,is  an old trial made by Romanian filmmakers from the '80s, when Ion Grosan wrote the book.  Dinu Tanase also tried to make it at some point before '89 and so did Danieliuc, but at that time one  could not make such a film. After the '90's Titus Munteanu made the Caravan as a cut for an exam  at the  faculty. After more than 10 years, in a discussion about books that might be screened, Titus told me about this cut for Caravan he made in college. We decided to try it, the idea slowly came to him and after two years he presented  the film at the contest and  won the funding with Tudor Giurgiu's  production house Libra Film. That's how it happened.


Is it already running in theaters?

Of course, it is a movie in the classic sense of the word, on film. It premiered at IPIFF, and ran in Bucharest and also here I think.


Now for your closing could you formulate a thougth or a  recommendation for IPIFF?

I wish it would also exist next year, because it is a place where we can meet, were we can speak. It is important for directors and actors to participate because  that draws in  the public. I think it would be interesting, especially since it is a producers festival, that the jury should take into account the actual participation of the producers. The jury awards a film that is very good, taking into account first off all  the value of the director. If the movie is good,and it took a prize at Berlin or at Cannes the jury automatically say yes, that one we liked. The problem should not be placed within these premises. The work of the producer should matter if it was  meaningful if he tried to raise up the money , if he distributed it properly. It's like an image festival, unfortunately there are few, 4 or 5, in which, besides the fact that a movie is judged  if it's good or not good in terms of directing and interpretation, they also take into account  some specific criteria for image analysis. That is how is should be here I don't want to be misunderstood, it is good that the jury takes into account the overall aesthetic value of the film,but  the producers participation should be quantiefied, as abilities, how clever  he was in getting the budget, how much money he collected from how many places and in how many days. There should be a balance between the inherent value and aesthetics of the film and the producers participation,his ability to make a specific team of professionals to provide a small or large number of shooting days, etc.



Interview by Daniela Duca

Photo: Cristian Radu Nema