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Interview with Maria Dinulescu

Far from you had its premiere in Romanian cinemas two weeks ago. Not many of you know the film is a co-production between Romania and the USA, where the leading role is played by a popular Romanian actress, who's been away from the big screen for a long time.

An actress that always chose to do what she felt like rather then what the industry demands, even though this meant getting away from the flashing lights, the public and everything that comes with a career in acting, Maria Dinulescu is a fine and talented woman and actress, who shared with us her life experiences in over a decade, from her first success 14 years ago. An open dialogue about film, life, and what it means to be an actor.

Miss Dinulescu, what attracts you to a character?

The way it’s developed. What the character should go through to learn something new and useful about himself. These things help me discover all the unknown parts a character might have and offer more expressivity to it.

You were away from the spotlight for quite a while. Why and what have you done in all this time?

I went to the USA for a few years, then to Rome where I have learned Italian and now I’m living in Amsterdam, where I study film directing. I feel the need to explore as much as I can.

You came back on screen last year, with a leading role in Catrinel Danaiata’s debut film – Double, and more recently, also a debut film – Far from here, directed by a foreigner named, James Pillion. Two debutants directors, a man and a woman, of two different nationalities. What can you tell us about each experience?

Two difficult debut films, but each has managed to give the best. There’s still a lot of work for them and I think only another feature, and then another one could help them reach their full potential. Personally, I always try to bring more in a film production, and somehow it seems less is needed every time. It’s very tricky to work with debutants because you don’t know what to expect, what vocabulary to use on set. You try to be yourself and many times you need to let them be.

In Far from here, you play Sofia, an ambitious and independent woman, for whom having both a career and a family is important. How much do you relate to your character?

I’m not looking for a family nor a career. I chose a relationship for its depths and never for fame or money. Life is so good when you live it in a simple way. I think I would like to adopt, it might push me to explore life in a more profound way.

How do you become your character? Are director’s indications important to you?

Most of the time the scripts are so well written, or the casting director does such a good job picking you that the characters speak to you. Casting is 50% of a character, the rest is just good communication with your team members. For me it’s vital to work with a director that I admire. I need to be inspired by him to wish to help him achieve his vision. I prefer a young, passionate and sincere director, rather than a big one with lots of manipulation strategies up his sleeve.

 Fourteen years have passed since your debut in Catalin Mitulescu’s short film, Traffic. Has your career developed the way you wanted?

I never wished for something. I think I enjoyed everything I was given and each moment. It would be nice to go back to Cannes, where Traffic won the Palme D’or. What I wish for now is to write my own stories and maybe direct them – not for recognition or a career as a director, but for conveying in a personal way my experiences.

Tell us something about Far From Here’s film shooting: what were the most difficult moments for you?

When there were obvious things for me that had to be filmed and it didn’t happen.

And how was working with James Pillion? Are there any major inequalities in the way Americans work compared to our ways?

I know very well the school James graduated, I worked with one of his former colleagues in Hollywood. Of course we like things we already acknowledged, things we are used to, but I think every director has something important to tell.

What makes a film appreciated by a bigger audience?

Sometimes it’s so surprising how films you never thought could be successful catch the public’s eye and films that are works of art don’t get attention at all, that I find it hard to tell what makes a movie get to its public.

What would you say to our readers, to make them go buy a ticket this weekend at your latest film?

It is not a work of art, it is actually noticeable that the film was directed by a debutant, but it has a story you might relate to.

Far from Here can be watched in AFI Palace Cotroceni at Cinema City. For the full schedule, please visit Cinemagia’s official website.

Interview & English translation by Laura Mușat

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