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TIFF ‘09 | Radu Jude: “This film started in a way five years ago…”

TIFF ‘09 | Radu Jude: "This film started in a way five years ago..."

In Radu Jude’s “The Happiest Girl in the World,” “Delia Fratila (Andreea Bosneag) is not happy. Forced to repeat the same gleeful scene in a cheesy commercial for the best part of a smouldering summer day, she grows ever glummer as the temperature rises. Her parents have already found a buyer for the trophy car and are waiting in the wings to cash in. Breaks between takes lead to increasing friction as they try to pressure Delia into authorizing the deal. Never before has parental guidance sounded so much like a sales pitch. As Delia tries to hold on to her prize, even the camera starts crowding out the ‘lucky’ winner. Combining rich irony with familial acrimony, the film’s simple story magnifies the social tensions of a country embracing capitalism and all its shiny promises.” [Synopsis courtesy of TIFF]

indieWIRE gave Jude and others a free-form style interview to gather their thoughts on their careers individual projects.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is part of a series of interviews indieWIRE will be running with the filmmakers screening in the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival’s Discovery program.


I am 32, I live in Bucharest, Romania, I have a 4 year-old kid and I earn my living directing advertising films.

Your Filmmaking Career and Process…

I was rejected a few times from the national film school, so finally I enrolled in a small private school; at the same time I worked a lot as an assistant director for feature films and for advertising films. I directed bad stuff for television (a soap opera and a TV show). Then I had the chance to start directing myself commercials, then short films (“The Tube with a Hat” and “Alexandra” were screened in some festivals) and now I have just made my first feature film.

“The Happiest Girl in the World”…

This film started in a way five years ago when I told my friend Andrei Butica, a D.O.P., about a real-life situation I was a witness to. Basically, I had met a teenage girl who won a car in a marketing promotion and this happy event created chaos in her family, since everybody had his/her own idea about what should be done with that car. Andrei suggested the idea to make a film about it, so I wrote a script, together with Augustina Stanciu. Then, with the help of my producer, Ada Solomon, and our co-producers, Stienette Bosklopper and Dragos Vilcu, we got the money and did the film. About the finished film, I don’t know, I am not the one to judge it. I am sure only that Andreea Bosneag, the main character, is a great non-professional actress and her performance is a very good one.

Your Influences…

Well, there are many many influences, of course. First of all, life itself and its everyday weirdness, almost unnoticeable. Then my friends and their stories. Then, specifically for this film, the Italian neo-realist films, the films of Yasujiro Ozu, Abbas Kiarostami, John Cassavetes and Hou Hsiao-Hsien. There are also two great Romanian films that somehow influenced me for my film, “Secvente” by Alexandru Tatos and “The Re-enactment” by Lucian Pintilie. The stories of William Saroyan and Raymond Carver. And many others. Lately, I also love the films of Errol Morris, Ermanno Olmi, Bunuel, Kieslowski, the Romanian films of Ileana Stanculescu, Cristi Puiu, Corneliu Porumboiu and Radu Muntean. There are some books that lately changed the way I see life and/or cinema: the essays of Milan Kundera and Ernesto Sabato, “Descartes’ Error” by Antonio Damasio, all the books of Alan Watts and “Zen in the Art of Archery” by Eugen Herrigel.

The Future…

Regarding the future, I don’t know… It’s in God’s hands. I hope it’s gonna be fine

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