Cinema, mon amour is a bleak depiction of the state of Romanian cinema, focusing on one cinema in particular, the Dacia Panoramic in Piatr Neamt. The documentary opens on a group of children watching rolls of 35mm film unwind into a gigantic twisted heap which is both evocative and shocking.

This film however feels more of a study of a man, Viktor Purice, who with the assistance of two local women, Cornelia and Lorena, struggles day and night to keep his beloved cinema alive with no financial assistance. Viktor fixes everything, from the exhausted heating system to exterior signage. His optimistic and ever hopeful outlook, and more particularly, his actions and mannerisms, evoke an atmosphere as to how the cinema might have been in its heyday. Viktor sings, dances and plays guitar in an attempt to attract customers to the Dacia, and the past to the present.

Yet, the filming style doesn’t offer enough contrast to the subject matter. Hand held camerawork, excessive use of closeups and long drawn out shots all take away from Viktor’s passion and the jaded grandeur of the location. The most powerful shots are static, such as Victor sitting alone at the back of the auditorium or the seats filled with children, a game of table tennis in the lobby.  As a result, Cinema, mon amour is ultimately un-engaging and from the beginning it is very clear that the Dacia Panoramic Cinema and everyone involved with it are already consigned to the past.

Caroline Grebbell

Wednesday 22 June, 8.50pm, Filmhouse 2

Thursday 23 June, 4.10pm, Filmhouse 3

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