Entering the new millennium, the once-beautiful port town Sulina remains in a neverending post-Communist transition period, the rusted remnants of its once thriving trade industry lying scattered across a parched landscape that seems out of time, and out of place. In this socio-economic existential limbo, middle-aged couple Toni and Varvara, friends Nicu and Pal, teenage Ionuţ and his father, live on the poverty line, on the outskirts of town and society.
If it all sounds too dire and dark, Thomas Ciulei’s striking visuals pair up marvellously with the protagonist’s bitterly humorous musings and resignation on life, delivering a poetic and uplifting portrait of human nature’s joie-de-vivre. Capturing the harsh nature of the Danube Delta, THIS IS IT turns the camera on a region and its people, returning to them a dignity and beauty that had been long-abandoned in the country’s post-Communist transition period. In spite of having played the Berlinale, Rotterdam, Cinéma du Réel and Belfort back in 2001, Romania’s answer to Ulrich Seidl remains little seen, waiting to be re-discovered.
Europalia-Romania is proud to present This Is It in the director’s own 35mm print.
This Is It is part of Negotiating History @ Cinéma Galeries.
Q&A: with director Thomas Ciulei
Subtitles: FR - EN
Directed by: Thomas Ciulei