In a couple of words, what is ‘Luca’ about?
To synthesize and minimize at the same time, ‘Luca’ will be a film that will speak, to the one who will dare see it, about the permanent conflict between our carnal, native desires, and our predestined nature. It is a recurring theme in my projects, whether they are cinematographic, theatrical, or of another kind. From a different perspective, it will be a film that will speak with sadness and humor about bizarre institutional structures, catastrophic and often criminal political systems, about beautiful but misguided people, also about ugly, perverse and immoral people. The conclusion is a metaphysical one: life doesn’t care what the living person is going to do with it, life only follows a predetermined direction.
Shootings for ‘Luca’ took place between September 5th and October 4th, 2018 in Bucharest and Buftea. What were the biggest challenges you encountered when shooting on Henri Coanda Airport?
Usually, you get to the airport with the firm decision to go somewhere else, within or beyond borders. So, in order to get some enlightenment, we’ve often found ourselves asking the production team: “What are we doing here?”. We were ensured that we are there for the shootings only and we were relieved. Then we had to deal with the huge traffic of travelers who, on their way to Paris, New York or Beijing, trampled – even before the critics did – over our equipment, actors and our entire film.
What other locations did you use for the shootings besides the airport?
I think there were fewer places left that we didn’t use for shootings than the ones we did. The locations were many and have been carefully chosen by professionals and by our famous team.
This is not the first time when you are directing and acting at the same time; this has happened before with “Happy Funerals”. How can you describe this experience of being both a director and an actor on the set? What is the hardest thing for you in this situation?
As I’ve said before, working on a film as a director, in Romania or just for the fun of it, is like when you wish to have a child with an inflatable woman. Furthermore, to be an actor in the same film you are directing, it’s as if, besides the baby, you decide to get fat by eating a handful of nails every day. It was tough and traumatic. To be fair, my character in the film is just an appearance, a signature.
When you are directing, do you have a clear vision and very precise indications for the actors, or do you also rely on improvisation and on the personal contribution of each actor?
The film is a lively, dangerous and unpredictable animal. A bias can be harmful and you risk being devoured. So usually I use both options with caution. Luckily, on ‘Luca’, we had highly talented and versatile actors who quickly processed and integrated the guidelines, and improvisations were often repressed by our haste to finish the film in time.
An impressive detail about the shootings for “Luca”?
“An impressive detail” was the incredible performance of the team. Due to a rather anemic budget, a huge workload had to be forced into only twenty-four days of shootings, dazzling all the laws of physics, from Archimedes to Max Planck.
Can you share an on-set story with us?
Every day, on several times, a kind gentleman – answering to the name of Georgica – put a huge bowl of grapes in front of the video assist. I am not a huge grape consumer but out of curiosity, sometimes boredom, hunger, exasperation, I ate so many grapes that I am convinced that the wine production of this year will be seriously affected.
Was there a particular detail that you wanted really hard but you could not have in the film?
As the great Fellini once said, “the detail” you lose on all films, no matter how much energy you put in, is the 40 percent of the 100 you set your mind to. This “detail”, which not even Olympians had, we couldn’t have as well.
And, finally, when can we watch “Luca” on the big screens?
Alexandru Tocilescu, a great director and friend, was working on one of his plays when he was asked by an elderly lady when he was going to have the premiere of the play. Tocilescu reassured her: “You won’t make it until then, madame!”
Still, we hope that the film will premiere early November 2019.
An interview by Romina Banu
English translation by Andreea Toader