12 film recommendations for TIFF 2017

Because TIFF is already here (starting tomorrow), we want to recommend you twelve films to see during the fest. These recommendations are part of the competition and the special programs, and come straight from Cluj, from the ones who manage the 16th edition of the festival.

This year TIFF (Transilvania International Film Festival) takes place between 2 and 11 of June.

So, starting tomorrow we will see film premieres in Romania, both from the competition and the special programs. Also, we can take part at the related events of the festival. You can find out more about them reading our previous article.

Like every year, the TIFF program is generous and complex. If you are lost between locations, hours and film categories or you just don’t know what films must not be missed, PR & Press Office TIFF 2017, Laura Ducu recommends us twelve films.

These recommendations come directly from the 16th edition’s organizers.


  1. Simulation (2017, dir: Abed Abest)

Day 3 – June 4, 5:30 PM, Victoria Cinema
Day 5 – June 6, 10:30 PM, Victoria Cinema

Freshly back from Berlin, the directing debut of the Iranian artist Abed Abest is the most visual compelling entry of the competition. The abstracted scenography reproduced entirely in a black box generates a serious dose of surprise and suspense. The story follows three bored young men who decide to pay a visit to an older man they only vaguely know. Even if at first he’s glad to see them, soon afterwards the fear of a burglary makes him to threaten the visitors with a gun. Who will ruin their amusement?

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  1. Hounds of Love (2016, dir: Ben Young)

Day 4, June 5, 10:15 PM, Victoria Cinema
Day 5, June 6, 12:30 PM, Victoria Cinema

The terrifying debut of the Australian Ben Young brings to TIFF the story of a 17-year-old teenager, who is abducted from a suburban street by a disturbed couple. As she observes the dynamic between her captors she quickly realizes she must drive a wedge between them if she wants to survive.

Emma Booth received the Best Actress Award at Venice 2016 for her tough character in this psychological thriller, where tension is majestically created.  Some of the imagines will simply shock you and the sequence of events will take your breath.

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  1. God’s Own Country (2017, dir: Francis Lee)

Day 5, June 6, 8:00 PM, Victoria Cinema
Day 7, June 8, 12:30 PM, Victoria Cinema

Fracis Lee brings to Romania his debut feature film as part of the competition for the Transilvania Trophy. Recently awarded at Sundance and Berlin, the film presents the young farmer Johnny Saxby in the spring mood of Yorkshire. He numbs his daily frustrations with binge drinking and casual sex, until the arrival of a Romanian migrant worker, played by the actor Alec Secăreanu. This intense relationship sets Johnny on a new path. The critics described this film as the British reply for Brokeback Mountain.

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  1. My Happy Family (2017, dir: Nana Ekvtimishvili, Simon Gross)

Day 4, June 5, 3:00 PM, Victoria Cinema
Day 7, June 8, 5:00 PM, Victoria Cinema

The cinematography of the sweet and sour Georgian comedy that was screened at this year’s edition of Sundance is signed by the Romanian filmmaker Tudor Panduru. And this is not the single reason for you to watch the film in which the main character, a 52-year-old female named Manana, unexpectedly tells her family that she is leaving. She has been married for 30 years and lives in a three-bedroom flat with her husband, parents, two children and her son-in-law. Initially, the family doesn’t take Manana’s decision seriously. But then she packs her suitcase and leaves. The family is shocked: where is she going? Who upset her? She is past ‘divorce age’ after all, and has a good husband. What is to be done?

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Romanian Film Days

  1. Breaking news (2017, dir: Iulia Rugină)

Day 8, June 9, 7:00 PM, Florin Piersic Cinema

An absolute premiere outside the competition, the new film of Iulia Rugină brings back Andi Vasluianu to TIFF. He plays a reporter that survives a tragic accident. After the tragic death of his cameraman, dead in the same accident, the reporter Alex Mazilu has to make a reportage in memory of his colleague, covering his life. Three days before Christmas, in a small town on the Black Sea coast, Alex puts together puzzle pieces of this man’s life, all seen through the eyes of his teenage daughter. Trying to redeem the dead father, he slowly starts taking his place.

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  1. The Anniversary (2017, dir: Dan Chișu)

Day 8, June 9, 10:00 PM, Florin Piersic Cinema
Day 9, June 10, 5:00 PM, Iulius Mall Cinema City – hall 3

A long awaited premiere is the last film of the late Mircea Albulescu. In an evening full of muddy memories and conflicting discussions, his family and friends gather around him for his 94th anniversary. Everything gets complicated when half of the guests try to convince Radu to confess his sins to a priest, while the others think that no one should be forced to do something against their will. The impressive cast includes well-known names like Răzvan Vasilescu, Gheorghe Ifrim, Constantin Cojocaru, Mihai Constantin, Emilia Dobrin, Emanuel Pârvu and Coca Bloos.

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  1. Cabbage, Potatoes and Other Demons (2016, dir: Șerban Georgescu)

Day 5, June 6, 9:45 PM, Arkhai Sculpture Park – Vlaha

Day 8, June 9, 12:00 PM, Sapientia University

One village, 1 000 tractors, 100 000 tons of cabbages and potatoes per year which are hardly sold and eventually have to be destroyed. Is there any way out? After he bought almost a ton of cabbage with only 20 euros, the director Șerban Georgescu decides to start a rural adventure in Lungulețu village. He moves alongside the peasantry, works with them and documents every moment that could explain the antinomies of the local producers.

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  1. The short films of the Romanian Film Days

Writen/Unwritten by Adrian Silișteanu nominated at European Film Academy Awards, First Night signed by Andrei Tănase, which received the Grand Price at Dresda and which was included in Orizzonti section at Venice, or the French Production Square (dir: Anca Damian) which was launched in 2016, are just three of the four films that you should not miss from the Romanian Film Days.

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  1. The Asthenic Syndrome (1989, dir: Kira Muratova)

Day 3, June 3, 8:45 PM, Army House

Day 10, June 11, 3:15 PM, Florin Piersic Cinema

Is it one of the most daring films made in the troubled period of 1989 and explores the side effects of the major changes of that time on the ordinary people. The first part is filmed in black and white and follows the severe depression of a widow. The second part, made on colour film, tells the story of a teacher devastated by the personal and professional problems, who develops the syndrome and falls asleep in the most inappropriate situations. After he is hospitalized in a psychiatric clinic, he starts to believe that all the people outside the clinic are crazier than the patients he meets there.

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Hungarian Day

  1. It’s not the time of my life / Ernelláék Farkaséknál (2016, dir: Szabolcs Hajdu)

Day 6, June 7, 3:45, Army House

Day 7, June 8, 8:00 PM, Iulius Mall Cinema City – Hall 4

In the middle of a marriage crisis, Ernella and Albert together with their 10-year-old daughter leave the country looking for a better life. They don’t manage to live in Scotland so they come back quickly. In the middle of the night, they appear from nowhere in the house of Ernelle’s sister, Eszter. The two families never got along well and the two sisters were always arguing. Is there any chance for them to get along?

The sequences were filmed in the director’s apartment. Together with his wife and son, they play the role of the host family. The film was awarded with the Cristal Globe at Karlovy Vary.

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The usual Suspects

  1. A Fantastic Woman (2017, dir: Sebastián Lelio)

Day 8, June 9, 9:00 PM, Student Culture House

Day 9, June 10, 3:45 PM, Florin Piersic Cinema

Her boyfriend’s health worsens suddenly. After his death, the police investigate Marina. After this event, the life of the young waitress who dreamt about being a successful singer takes a terrible turn. Marina is a trans woman and her identity scandalizes Orlando’s family who does everything possible to definitively exclude her from their lives. Awarded at Berlin 2017, the film tells the story of this woman’s life and strength to be herself despite all the obstacles she encounters.

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  1. Original Bliss (2016, dir: Sven Taddicken)

Day 1, June 2, 7:00 PM, Iulius Mall Cinema City – Hall 3

Day 6, June 7, 11:00 AM, Florin Piersic Cinema

Desperately trapped in an unhappy marriage, Helene Brindel has a spiritual crisis. She loses her last hope when she feels that God abandoned her as well.

Looking for a solution, she finds the key to her liberation in the charismatic psychologist Eduard E. Gluck. But he also has to fight his own demons. When he and Helene meet for the first time, these two apparently complete opposites find themselves drawn irresistibly together. Love can be a promise to a blissful future, but also can be a test.

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Starting tomorrow we are waiting for you at TIFF from where we will post photos on our Facebook page, we will make a new #intothespotlight article and we will announce the winners of this edition.

Article by Romina Banu
English translation by Andreea Andrei

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