Berlin Film Festival: Shooting Stars 2012
Since graduating with advanced degrees from Bucharest’s National U. of Theater and Cinematography, 26-year-old Ana Ulara has amassed an enviable string of credits, including the lead in “Turkey Girl,” Cristian Mungiu’s segment of the “Lost and Found” omnibus, and Bogdan Apetri’s “Outbound,” for which she received a Boccalino d’Oro award in Locarno and the actress prize at Thessaloniki.
Did she feel fortunate to be emerging alongside the so-called New Romanian Wave? “Not really. I’ve been acting since I was 9 years old,” says the thesp who debuted in Claude-Michel Rome’s 1995 thriller “Meurtres par procuration.” “I’ve worked with both the older generation of directors and the new one.
“Anyway,” she adds, “I’m always a little skeptical when I hear people talk about this ‘New Romanian Wave.’ I know these filmmakers, and every one of them has their own ideas, their own aesthetic, they think and operate in their own particular ways.Just because they became known internationally at the same time doesn’t make it a movement, per se! The fact that Romanian cinema is gaining attention is good, and overdue. But artists, I think, would always rather be considered as individuals than be assimilated into a group.”
And she is her own artist as well, with a world perspective and ambitions helped by the fact that as well as her native Romanian, Ulara speaks the kind of flawless English that would put a BBC newsreader to shame — plus French, Spanish and Italian. Europe, you sense, is beckoning her — and America, too.
“Of course I have a loyalty toward my own country, and doing films in my own language, but at the same time, I love breaking these barriers, playing, say, a Spanish character, or a Frenchwoman. I never wanted to be typecast (as some) Eastern European woman being trafficked for sex,” she says. “Which is always the danger, when you’re from a smaller country: being trapped in a certain ethnic stereotype. That’s not for me. I’d rather be all over the place, in every sense.”