AFERIM!, Romania’s Official Entry for the 88th Academy Awards (Best Foreign Language Film) will be released in the US in 2016 via Big World Pictures. Directed by an acclaimed Romanian filmmaker, Radu Jude, AFERIM! was the winner of the Silver Bear for Best Director at the 2015 Berlin International Film Festival, and was the Official Selection at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival. AFERIM! will open at Lincoln Plaza Cinemas in New York, and at the Laemmle Royal in Los Angeles on January 22, 2016. A national release will follow.
The only contemporary Romanian film to address the issue of Gypsy slavery, AFERIM!, with dark humor, touches upon the long history of anti-Roma prejudice in Romania.
Eastern Europe, 1835. Two riders cross a barren landscape in the middle of Wallachia. They are the gendarme Constandin and his son. Together they are searching for a gypsy slave who has run away from his nobleman master and is suspected of having an affair with the noble’s wife. While the unflappable Constadin comments on every situation with a cheery aphorism, his son takes a more contemplative view of the world. On their odyssey they encounter people of different nationalities and beliefs: Turks and Russians, Christians and Jews, Romanians and Hungarians. Each harbors prejudices against the others which have been passed down from generation to generation. And even when the slave Carfin is found, the adventure is far from over…
Radu Jude’s third feature has been aptly compared to films as diverse as THE SEARCHERS, THE LAST DETAIL and PULP FICTION (the latter for its rambling, coarse and endlessly entertaining dialogues), but the film is ultimately a moving parable about late-feudal Europe developed from historical documents and songs: its power structures and hierarchies, people’s ideas of themselves and others, interaction with minorities and the resulting conflicts. A Balkan Western in black-and-white that brings the cacophony of the times strikingly to life and explores the thematic arcs that stretch into the present.