Europe in Short, Section 2

    18. 11. 2019

    A Q&A with Bogdan Muresanu, director of The Christmas Gift, was conducted by Peter Cerovšek and Matevž Jerman after the second part of the Europe in Short section. Before venturing into filmmaking, the director did a six-month stint as a scriptwriter. The moderators complimented the brilliant script with subtly increasing suspense. Muresanu reflected on the topic for quite some time before writing the screenplay in two or three days, describing the creative process as a “long, but planned outburst”. He believes retrospection, that is, a review of the past, informs our understanding of both the present and the future, and sees history as narration. According to Muresanu, it takes a lot of courage to look in the mirror. The anti-Communist insurgency that overthrew Ceaușescu was not a real revolution, but this is not evident in the film. The Christmas Gift is a blend of inspiration and Romanian New Wave, in addition to reflecting the influence of Pablo Larraín’s No, which depicts the insurrection against dictator Pinochet (incidentally, Larraín is featured at this year’s Liffe with Ema). The camera imitated safety cameras, and archival footage was used. While forty young actors were auditioned for the role of the boy writing a wish letter to Santa, Luca Toma was the most convincing candidate because he was the only one with “sadness in his eyes.” This is because the film does not actually deal with the last Communist president of Romania but examines the concept of fear over a certain period. It took the crew six months to decide on the closing credits theme. They chose an optimistic Communist song to provide a marked contrast to the counter-revolutionary events in 1989. In concluding, the director talked about the difficulty of explaining history to the boy-actor because he had long been unable to understand it himself. 

    Wtitten by Nataša Šuštaršič

    Photo Iztok Dimc