A scene form Police, Adjective (Photo courtesy of A. Profir)
Romanian director Corneliu Porumboiu earned recognition at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, earning the Un Certain Regard Jury Prize for Police, Adjective. The film follows a small-town cop whose conscience torments him because his duty is to arrest a group of young kids for a minor offense. Police, Adjective will make its Canadian premier at the Toronto Film Festival in September.
|(Corneliu Porumboiu (Photo courtesy of A. Profir)|
Porumboiu previously earned recognition at Cannes in 2006 when his feature debut, 12:08 East of Bucharest, earned the Camera d'Or. The film also earned an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Foreign Film.
A review earlier this year in Screen Daily stated: "No festival worth its salt will want to miss Corneliu Porumboiu's follow-up to the Cannes Camera D'Or-winning 12:08 East of Bucharest (2006). Not only does his new film … confirm the promise of his debut, but it goes one step further in its sober attempt to achieve the maximum with the minimum of means."
Both films, as well as a short made at the Romanian National University of Cinema and Theater, were written by Porumboiu and photographed by cinematographer Marius Panduru.
"Marius and I are friends, and one key to our success is the extensive preparations we make before we begin to shoot," says Porumboiu. "For Police, Adjective, we began talking about the style of the film when the script was still in its first draft. We talked extensively about color and contrast and atmosphere. Marius is very receptive to my ideas, and we communicate well. We speak about the script from a dramaturgical point of view, not just technical. When we get to the set, we are like family. We understand each other."
The filmmakers took inspiration from the 1984 Eric Rohmer film Full Moon in Paris. "I was interested in achieving that kind of look - low contrast, with muted and realistic colors," Porumboiu explains. "We shot some tests and found the right look. We also shot some test scenes and edited the shots together to help us find the right rhythm and pacing."
Porumboiu chose to frame Police, Adjective in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The camera, like the main character, is an observer, so the filmmakers chose to mimic his point of view with long takes. The story is told in the first person. The Arriflex cameras were often mounted with 40 or 50mm lenses because those focal lengths most closely approximate human vision.
Panduru chose KODAK VISION2 Expression 500T 5229 and KODAK VISION2 100T 5212 films.
"It's very important to me that we shoot film," says Porumboiu. "I envision my movies for the big screen. The atmosphere is so important, and with film, I can have a high degree of control over the atmosphere. The image is extremely important. Film for me has a completely different flavor.
"We're grateful for the help of Thierry Perronnet of Kodak and Cornelia Popa of Kodak Cinelabs Romania, where we did the laboratory work," he adds.
Success at Cannes has meant everything to Porumboiu's career. "Having a film at Cannes is, of course, a crucial step in a filmmaker's career," he remarks. "Winning prizes there is extraordinary. On the first level, it means validation - it means that I have made a good movie. That validation is so important for a young, sensitive filmmaker from a country like Romania. Cannes is the most celebrated film festival in the world. Recognition there also opens many doors when it comes to distribution.
"I'm trying to define myself as an artist," he continues. "In my films I am stretching a certain type of cinematic language. To realize that people understand and love my work - I can't overstate how much that means."
Porumboiu is currently working on the script for his next feature film.