«The Campaign» press conference report
On September 30, 2020, the press conference dedicated to the film «The Campaign» by the Romanian director Marian Crisan. The film is part of Main Competition of the 42nd Moscow International Film Festival. The film's director and screenwriter Marian Crisan, actors Ion Sapdaru and Ovidiu Crisan took part in the presser via an online feed.
The film takes place in a small Romanian town of Salonta, visited by the politician Mocanu, who is campaigning for a seat at the European Parliament. Mocanu’s car, which the politician used to drive to Salonta to meet the locals, breaks down near the house belonging to the quiet tractor driver Viorel. The latter offers Mocanu his humble home to stay while the car is being repaired. It’s not long before Mocani and his team realize that the hospitality of the newfound acquaintance can be used for the good of the campaign.
«This film shows the campaign that takes place far from the capitals. The politician comes to Salonta, I was born there, we shot the film there, too; and Mocanu tries to live just like the locals. The campaign activities are often broadcast, but in our film, we show something you wouldn't see on TV. Things like a politician's breakfast, and the life of Viorel, an ordinary person with his family and his problems,» director Marian Crisan said.
Actor Ovidiu Crisan plays the tractor driver, and he admitted it wasn't easy for him to play this character.
«People like Mocanu are often in the headlines, while the fate of people like Viorel rarely makes it into a news report. We live in hard times – and it's not only about the Coronavirus. We're going through a de-humanisation process: everyone thinks about themselves and focuses on themselves, we are not ready to empathize. My character isn’t like this, though. He is better described with the phrase Mocanu says, “You are a kind person”! actor Ovidiu Crisan noted.
Ion Sapdaru plays the politician in «The Campaign». He studied at VGIK in Moscow, and speaks great Russian.
«My character and the likes of him are easily recognizable both for the Russian audience and for the viewers in all capitalist countries. I see them on TV and in real life. A couple of days ago, there was an election in my country, and there are plenty of similar characters all over the place. Mocanu is an old wolf who is not interested in anything, he feels lonely and fights for no good reason. Naturally, he is scared of landing behind bars, he is being chased. However, he is an old wolf who just escaped to this God-forsaken town and tries to win his last battle. Why he is fighting and what he is feeling in the process remains a mystery. It's a sad old person who moves by inertia,» Sapdaru noted, also comparing his character to the one in the Chekhov's tale «Gooseberry».
Director Marian Crisan calls this character «a political dinosaur, who is on his way to extinction».
«People are moving fast, and Mocanu is exhausted; it's his last chance to stay afloat in politics, so he hides and waits the crisis out to win the election. He is far from the political whirlwind and simply observes the situation. The film resembles a play, scene after scene – people come and go, and some of them improvise,» the director noted.
According to Crisan, young people in Romania are not really involved in politics and don't vote. Politics is «a sort of a taboo element» in the national cinema. However, «The Campaign» gives an insight into political modus operandi in Romania.