– Débat des cinéastes – with Claude Lelouch and Elia Suleiman, on Sunday, 19th October –

-Animation film for both children and adults – new addition to the official program –


Elia Suleiman, the director of It Must be Heaven, winner of the Special Jury Prize at Festival de Cannes 2019, comes to Bucharest for the second time.

On Saturday, 19th October, the public will be able to listen to him during Débat des auteurs, when he will discuss with filmmaker Claude Lelouch and other film directors about the state of global cinema in the context of streaming platforms, franchises and multiplexes. The meeting will take place at Elvire Popesco Cinema, at the end of the screening of Les plus belles années d’une vie; entrance is free of admission, subjected to availability.

In 2012, at Les Films de Cannes à Bucarest, the public was able to watch two of his most awarded films: Divine Intervention (2002 – Jury Prize at Cannes) and The Time That Remains (2009 – Special Jury Mention at Cannes), both dealing with the conflict between Israel and Palestine in a profoundly personal manner and a style that likens him to Jacques Tati and Buster Keaton.

“Although full of regret and compassion, Suleiman’s films are not despairing. ‘You think I sit at home and think about the conflict?’ he says. ‘I think about it existentially, about how we could procure togetherness. I don’t think despair is necessary – otherwise I wouldn’t be making films. If I stop, you can conclude that I gave into despair.’”, the filmmaker was saying in an interview for The Guardian, in 2009, for the premiere of The Time That Remains.

Elia Suleiman did not stop there and we rediscover him in 2019 as filmmaker, screenwriter, but also as main actor in a comedy that has managed, for the third time, to make it to the official competition of the festival. It Must Be Heaven is a burlesque film exploring images of identity, nationality and belonging, where the filmmaker continues to depict the banality and absurdity of everyday life in intimate, touching vignettes, shot at home and abroad. Suleiman juggles with ludic elements and once again combines poetry with humour, with a kind of sobriety and a pinch of surrealism.

“If in my previous films, Palestine was imagined as a microcosm of the world, in my new film, It Must Be Heaven, the entire world becomes a microcosm of Palestine”, Suleiman declares on the site of the festival. The film poses a paramount question: where can you feel “at home?”. “Filmmaker and actor Elia Suleiman uses his own face and body to express the soul of Palestine in his films, and nowhere more so than in his droll new comedy”, Hollywood Reporter writes.

“I told him Bucharest definitely evolved with respect to the culinary aspect, and that convinced him to come back”, filmmaker Cristian Mungiu jokingly said when announcing, at the yesterday’s press conference, the fact that the Palestinian filmmaker would be one of the special guests at the tenth edition of Les Films de Cannes à Bucarest. Elia Suleiman will be present at the end of the screening of his film on 20th October, at 20:30, at Elvire Popesco Cinema.

A fresh addition to this year’s program of Les Films de Cannes à Bucarest is Papicha. Set in Algeria in the ‘90s, the debut film of filmmaker Mounia Meddour tells the story of Nedjma, a 18-years-old student who loves fashion and girl fun. Her lifestyle is, however, endangered by an ever more virulent campaign meant to impose burqa on Algerian women. Her life takes a turn after a dramatic attack and the young girl decides to put up a fashion show as a act of resistance. Meddour revealed in an interview for Screen that the film is autobiographical. “I grew up in Algeria up until I was 18, I studied at a university where the dorm looked exactly like the one in my story.” The public will be able to meet the filmmaker at the screening on 27th October, at Elvire Popesco Cinema, with a Q&A session at the end.

The creation and implications of this film, wholeheartedly received at Cannes, where it was screened under the Un Certain Regard section, stand proof that Arab cinematography, whose young filmmakers revolt against censorship by examining intense and complex human relationships, face a lot of hardships. Papicha, selected from as far back as July to represent Algeria at Cannes 2020, should have had the premiere on 22nd September in Algiers, but the local authorities cancelled the screening. The producers, who accuse governmental censorship, found out that suddenly their permission had become void, and, for the qualification at the Oscars in the Best Foreign Film category, the film had to be screened in Algeria before 30th September. Luckily, the Academy Awards made an exception, and Papicha will enter the competition for best foreign film even in the absence of a screening in its native country.

The feminist message and the rebellious spirit of the film go hand in hand with the recent events in Algeria, where, every Friday, starting March, people take to the streets against the conservatory Islamic government, in what has come to be called “Revolution of Smiles”.

What are our neighbours up to? We know plenty about American actors and filmmakers, we know some about French and English ones, but too little about Bulgarians, Georgians or Bosnians.

What are our neighbours up to?, the section that Les Films de Cannes à Bucarest proposes this year for the first time, aims to bring the Romanian public stories and filmmakers, who don’t find themselves as often under the Cannes spotlights, but who are just as human, genuine, sensitive and exciting.

The section will start off with the screening of the omnibus Lost and Found, whose 15-year production anniversary occurs with a reunion in Bucharest of several filmmakers: Jasmila Žbanić (Bosnia), Stefan Arsenijević (Serbia), Nadejda Koseva (Bulgaria), Mait Laas (Estonia) and the producer of filmmaker Kornél Mundruczó, Viktória Petrányi (Hungary). Along with Cristian Mungiu, himself co-auteur of this collective project, the filmmakers will all meet with the public and introduce the film at Instituto Cervantes, on Monday, 21st October, starting 17:00. During the festival, the audience will able to see a title for each of these auteurs, who are as personal, as they are acclaimed by festival public.

Mait Laas, reputable Estonian animator, comes with Lisa Limone and Maroc Orange: A Rapid Love Story, a delicious animation with oranges, fit for both children and adults. Jasmila Žbanić will introduce Esma’s Secret, the film that brought her a Golden Bear at Berlin, Stefan Arsenievic will be present at the screening of Love and Other Crimes, the film that brought him the Best Director award at Sofia Film Festival, and as for the other filmmakers – their latest films will be screened.

Lisa Limone and Maroc Orange: A Rapid Love Story will screen on Sunday, 20th October, at PRO Cinema, starting 11:30. Entrance to all screening under the What are our neighbours up to? section is free of admission, and, at the animation film, only children over 12 have access.

The complete program of the tenth edition of Les Films de Cannes à Bucarest is available on the site.

At PRO Cinema, Elvire Popesco Cinema, Peasant Museum Cinema, Romanian National Museum of Art – Auditorium Hall, the tickets prces are 15 lei for tickets purchased by 18thOctober and 20 lei fro tickets purchased during the festival (18th – 27th October 2019). At Union Cinematheque tickets cost 10 lei or 8, 5, 3 lei for subscription holders.

Tickets can be purchased from Eventbook.ro, the Eventbook headquarters in Actor Ion Brezoianu Street 21, the Eventbook network and from the cash desks of Elvire Popesco Cinema, Peasant Museum Cinema and Union Cinematheque. More details about tickets can be found on the site.

Keep up to date with the latest news regarding the tenth edition of Les Films de Cannes à Bucarest, on the official website filmedefestival.ro  and on the official Facebook page.

Les Films de Cannes à Bucarest is presented by Orange Romania, a traditional partner of the event.

Official Car of the Festival: Renault.

With the support of: Catena, Apa Nova, Groupama Asigurări.

The tenth edition of Les Films de Cannes à Bucarest is organized by the Cinemascop Association and Voodoo Films, in partnership with Embassy of France and the French Institute in Bucharest.

Les Films de Cannes à Bucarest is a cultural project financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Identity, the National Centre of Cinematography, and and realized with the support of SACD / Société des Auteurs et Compositeurs Dramatiques.

Partners: Air France, KLM, The Romanian Cultural Institute, Europa Cinemas, Hotel Mercure, SERVE, UPS, Eventbook.

Media partners: Radio România Cultural, Zile și Nopți, Elle, Observatorul Cultural, News.ro, Ziarul Metropolis, AaRC, Movienews, Igloo, Banchiza Urbană, FilmNewEurope, Cineghid, Cinemap, Agerpres, Liternet, FilmMenu.

Media coverage partner: Mediatrust