Alt Screen’s very own Paul Brunick is at the NexT Festival in Bucharest this week, leading several panel discussions on (what else?) publishing technology and the current state of arts journalism. Celebrating its fifth anniversary this year, the short film festival was founded in honor of belated director Cristian Nemescu and sound engineer Andrei Toncu, two breakout talents still several years shy of their thirtieth birthday when they died in a tragic car accident in 2006.
Nemescu is best known for his debut feature California Dreamin, winner of the Un Certain Regard prize at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival. Cineaste contributor Monica Filimon has penned a thoughtful epitaph on Nemescu’s career:
Almost a decade younger than these filmmakers [Cristian Mungiu, Cristi Puiu, and Corneliu Porumboui], Nemescu’s work embodies a different sensibility. For him, social and political reality takes second place to effervescent, playful storytelling. He chose to set shorts like Mihai and Cristina (2001) or C Block Story (2003) in ghettoized neighborhoods of Bucharest—the “products” of extensive demolition campaigns during Communism—but designed these tightly packed love stories as intensive visual and aural experiments. California Dreamin’, produced by the same crew, was a project started in 2004 but received insufficient state funds—the traditional source for young directors—and was made only in 2006, when a private studio stepped in. This film tames the formalistic boldness of Nemescu’s shorts, but allows flashes of the poetry and humor of his earlier works to percolate through its narrative.
The director’s narrative debut Mihai and Cristina (filmed at the tender age of 22) after the jump: