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The Other Irina 24/06/2010

Posted by allthingsro in film, translations.
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See it and don’t believe it

Andrei Gruzsniczki’s film, The Other Irina, is a story about hopes of emigration, love that blinds and everyday indifference.

“But I liked her,” says Aurel (Andi Vasluianu), despondent and with liquor on his breath. He sits in a bar, knocks back vodka thirstily and tells his story. He came to Bucharest with his wife, Irina (Simona Popescu), to make a life together. He worked nights as a security guard in a mall. She worked as a bookkeeper in an Egyptian perfume company. Irina tells Aurel that she is going to Cairo for a few months. She wants to specialise and make some money. “Then we can get a loan too,” says Irina to persuade him.

Suicide for love

She returns after a while, but only to head off to visit her parents in the countryside because she has to go back to Cairo. On the same day that Irina calls to say that she is returning to Romania, Aurel receives a telephone call from the Romanian Consulate in Egypt. They say his wife has died. Here begins the second half of the film in which Aurel vehemently denies his wife’s death. It’s all a conspiracy; his wife didn’t commit suicide for love, as the Egyptian Ambassador leads him to believe. Everyone wants to deceive him, there was no way she was “a druggie and a whore”. “Where is Irina?” Aurel asks desperately, the reasonable man who cannot digest fatalism and surprises.

Conspiracy theory

The film The Other Irina is inspired by a true story. The man in question, an actor by trade, also appeared in a few scenes, which, however, were cut. (The film had to be cut down from two hours to 90 minutes.) “I spoke to the real person. He is still inclined to believe in a conspiracy. He has collected together a huge file and is even working on a book,” said co-writer Ileana Muntean at the press screening. “The film is about how we make our own reality, the one that suits us best,” she added. Aurel indeed lives in his own world. When his sister-in-law tells him that Irina had filed divorce papers before her second trip to Cairo, he is convinced that it was just a fleeting fancy on the part of his beloved wife.

Mummies and indifference

Even when the coffin from Egypt is opened, and the doctor cuts open the cover surrounding the mummified corpse, Aurel does not believe that the embalmed body is his wife’s. He asks Interpol to investigate the case, he wants explanations from the shady firm based in a flat, he wants to get an authorisation for a second autopsy from the Prosecutor’s Office, but everywhere he is met with that indifference which specific to Romanian bureaucracy. “The film is about the extraordinary indifference with which the character is confronted in his fight to find out the truth,” said director Andrei Gruzsniczki of his debut feature film.

Stationary shots

Made with a limited budget (the National Centre for Cinematography contributed €165,000, about half of the total), the movie has the appearance of a detective film and makes frequent use of static scenes with lots of interior shots. “I didn’t shake the camera on my shoulders. Andrei wanted the shots to be more static,” joked Director of Photography Vivi Dragan Vasile. He is responsible for the scenes which capture the alienating immensity of the mall and the airport as well as the gloomy atmosphere in Aurel’s bedroom. Aurel is the simple man (a convincing performance by Andi Vasluianu, in his first leading role in a feature film), who wanders about like a sleepwalker with meticulous habits and an idealised image of his wife.


The film The Other Irina was filmed in 25 days in summer 2008. It received first prize and the FIPRESCI Award at the “CinePecs Moveast” Festival, first prize at the “Anonymous” Festival and the Romanian Days Award for Feature Film at the Transylvania International Film Festival.

Review by Victor Popescu, translation by Daisy Waites



1. andrei savu - 25/09/2010

contact me 🙂

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