LONDON — Beta Cinema is to handle world sales on “Scarred Hearts,” which is produced by Ada Solomon and directed by Radu Jude. Solomon and Beta previously partnered on “Child’s Pose,” which won the Berlin Film Festival Golden Bear in 2013, and Jude’s “Aferim!,” which won the Berlin Silver Bear this year for director.
“Scarred Hearts” is inspired by Romanian author Max Blecher’s novel, which is set in 1937. It centers on Emanuel, a man in his early 20s, who spends his days at a sanatorium on the Black Sea coast, suffering from bone tuberculosis. Falling in love with another patient, he narrates his and his fellow patients’ attempts to live life to the full as their bodies slowly wither but their minds refuse to give in. Blecher wrote the text, hailed as a masterpiece on publication in Romania in 1939, as autobiographical notes before he died, after 10 years of suffering, at the age of 29.
Solomon said: “What is fascinating about this piece is the poetic way of describing a painful experience of a young man, and the emotional situation of this group of young people, getting ready for life’s final encounter, but at the same time so in love with life, so caring about their future and living the momentum at maximum intensity. The charm of the film comes also from the triple layer cage the characters of the story are living in: caged in their plaster corsets, caged in their sickness, and caged in the sanatorium, but still breaking free with force and sufferance.”
Jude said: “I believe that the strength of cinema does not lie in the story or in the different philosophies behind the stories, but in its immense descriptive capacity. I hope this movie will not ‘express’ something, will not have any ‘meanings,’ nor convey ‘denotations,’ I only hope it will show; it will offer the detailed description of an extreme human experience on which to relate with tenderness, fear and respect.”
The film, which stars Lucian Teodor Rus, Ivana Mladenovic and Ilinca Harnut, is in production. It is a Romanian-German co-production between Hi Film and Komplizen Film, with the support of the Romanian CNC and the European Union’s Media Program.