Berlin Golden Bear winner Radu Jude (“Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn”) is set to begin production in Romania on his next feature, Variety can reveal.
“A Case History” analyzes the relations between individuals and multinational companies in the mad dash of new Romanian capitalism, starting from the real story of preparing and shooting a problematic work safety video. Principal photography is slated to begin in summer or early fall.
“The film is composed of two parts which respond to each other, forming a diptych of sorts,” Jude told Variety. “Each of them explores a certain aspect of the main theme, and the final picture is obtained by juxtaposing the two of them in what we can call ‘a tale of cinema and economy.’” It is a film about work relations, but also a film about images and the way they are made and their place in society.
The first part of “A Case History” is a road movie which follows Angela, an overworked, 35-year-old production assistant working for a Romanian production company, as she drives around Bucharest on assignment for a large multinational corporation. “This part will be also a kind of dialogue with a not so well-known film from 1981, ‘Angela Moves On,’ by Lucian Bratu, which also has a woman driver in its center,” said Jude. “I will shoot in many of the locations of that film, I will have its main characters playing secondary characters here, and parts of it will enter my film as well.”
The second portion takes place the next day and follows several characters from the first part in “a kind of a making-of for a corporate film,” said the director. “This challenges a bit, I hope, the notion of what a story usually is. Plus, the characters will tell a lot of smaller stories and anecdotes to each other, so the film will be very rich from a storytelling point of view.”
“A Case History” is produced by Ada Solomon and Adrian Sitaru of 4Proof Film in co-production with microFILM (Romania), Serge Lalou and Perrine Feminier of Les Films d’Ici (France), Paul Thiltges and Adrien Chef of Paul Thiltges Distributions (Luxembourg), Ankica Tilic-Juric of Kinorama (Croatia), Zsuzsanna Kiraly of Flaneur Films (Germany), Dan Wechsler and Jamal Zeinal-Zade of Bord Cadre (Switzerland), and Andreas Roald of Sovereign Films (U.K.), with the support of the Romanian Film Center.
Jude, who won the Berlinale Silver Bear in 2015 (“Aferim!”), is also presenting a new project during the Berlinale Co-Production Market. Currently in development, “Heia, Heia, Safari!” will consist of two separate narratives. In the first part, set in 1917, German ethnologist Leo Frobenius is put in charge of a camp for African colonial soldiers in Romania. In the second part, which takes place 100 years later, an art student causes a small uproar while trying to decolonize her university through a performance that draws parallels between historical and contemporary colonial exploitation.
“This is a film which somehow moves between past (First World War) and present, Romania and Germany, fiction and documentary, and its main idea is somehow to show how history is constructed, used and abused,” said Jude. “It is something I have touched in one or two of my previous movies and I want to touch again this topic, from a different perspective. We can say there are some common points with ‘A Case History’ in the fragmentary structure, but also in the fact that the way images are made has a big part in the story of the film – in this case, photographs made by the anthropologist Leo Frobenius in Romania.”
“Heia, Heia, Safari!” is produced by Julia I. Peters and Jutta Feit for jip Film & Verleih (Germany), Heleen Gerritsen, and Ada Solomon for microFILM (Romania).
“It is very rare to encounter a film project like ‘Heia, Heia, Safari!’ which combines past and present, East and West, documentary and fiction and simultaneously touches upon so many contemporary discourses relevant today,” said Peters and Feit. “Our reality in Western Europe is multi-layered and complex yet under the surface many stories linger that have not been dealt with properly: Germany’s colonial past, racism, the Roma minority, economic inequality within the E.U. We believe that Radu Jude and his co-author Heleen Gerritsen have found an approach that will attract the attention of larger audiences worldwide.”
Founded by Peters and Feit in 2017, jip Film & Verleih’s recent films include the documentary “Sing it Loud: Luther’s Heirs in Tanzania” (2017), which the duo also directed, Ben Hopkins’ “Welcome to Karastan” (2018), and Lauren Greenfield’s “Generational Wealth” (2018), which screened in the Berlinale’s Panorama strand.
“We have previously produced films connected both to the African continent and Eastern Europe,” Peters and Feit added. “In such a global story, the co-production elements come naturally, and we are looking forward to working with an international cast and crew to bring this complex but very important story to life.”