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Red Carpet Worthy team of festival ambassadors led by Archer Sierra.
reporting from the US Festival Circuit, starting with one of the biggest : AFI FEST November 1-11, 2007
Watch out for hot coverage


Ten Burning Questions: 4 month, 3 weeks, 2 days (AFI Day 4)

By JOHN WILDMAN, Contributing Writer

When a film lands in your theatre with the critics' worthy buzz that Cristian Mungiu's 4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS AND 2 DAYS does, there can be a tendency to regard it strictly as a "broccoli movie." You know, "you really should watch it because it's good for you" kind of film. And all too often we opt for the popcorn movie in the Cineplex next door. In this case, that would be a big mistake. Because Mungiu's tragic slice of Romanian life is a rare film that makes a return to your thoughts days afterward. Without histrionics, without pointing an obvious finger at villains or victims, and without playing its hand, the film makes you an accomplice to a terrible moral crisis and turning point in the lives of two young Romanian girls - and forces you to contemplate what you would do in the same situation.

Would you characterize the film as more an exploration of the human costs of anti-abortion laws or an indictment of the Romanian government in general? For me it's mostly a film about people, about two ways of approaching life: one passive, contemplative and unquestioning versus one which is driven by the desire to act, decide, improve and question all the time your values in an attempt to understand something about life from what happens to you. The film speaks at the same time about the concrete consequences of having abortion forbidden in Romania but also about how - because we were so busy fighting the communist system to regain our freedom and be able to decide on a very personal matter - we failed understanding that the answer about abortion should refer to a personal ethical decision you need to make - and that freedom is better used when accompanied by knowledge.

'Otilia' goes to extremes to help her roommate 'Gabita' have an illegal abortion. Did you have any fears that it would be difficult to justify why she would go to such lengths for a character that doesn't seem to warrant such loyalty? It all starts from a true story, so I knew from the beginning that it really happened like this. If I knew why it happened like this I wouldn't have made the film - I believe a film should be more about asking questions, not about giving answers. But most of the disbelief of people not understanding how somebody could be so generous with somebody else comes from the fact that they wouldn't be capable of the same generosity.

What is the best thing about having your film at AFI FEST? Seven years ago I was in Los Angeles for the very first time after winning an international screenplay competition. By the time I arrived, I already had most of the financing for my first film and I was very naive imagining that on the occasion of my trip to L.A. I would meet lots of producers eager to invest in me as a filmmaker. Instead I met lots of talented filmmakers that struggled to make their way in a foreign country and I understood how difficult this is. I decided I would only go back there with a film that would make me noticeable as an author.

Will you bring your Palm d'Or with you to the set of your next film? For every new film you start all over again not knowing if you manage to get it right this time and no previous award is of any use towards the way you will use your skills next time. On the set, unless you can convince people around you that the story is worth telling and that you know best how to do it, you might as well not show up.

Who or what inspired you to want to make films? Watching life and being fascinated by it - and later my belief that we need to understand something from what happens to us.

What's the most underrated job on the set? Blocking the traffic when you shoot exteriors on real streets.

The film favors a slow build of tension versus emotional histrionics as the women deal with their terrible dilemma. Is this largely a result of the Romanian culture or your personal directing tastes? It rather belongs to my taste and especially in connection with this story. I wanted the spectators to experience, as much as possible, the feelings this girl had in that special day of her life.

The characters are very particular as to the brand of cigarettes they smoke. Do you see smoking as the "last luxury" they can afford/enjoy? No. It's about the meaning the pack of Kent had during that period. We were not allowed to have foreign currency and we didn't have access to foreign products so this pack of Kent often signified the prosperity of a world we didn't have access to. It was also more of a social sign, signaling to the others that you could afford to pay for the services you requested. It wasn't about the cigarettes itself and I don't have any idea why people focused on Kent specifically. Probably because from the three or four brands that were accessible on the black market this one had the most aristocratic look - being all white and different from regular cigarettes.

What was the last film that made you cry? Laugh out loud? Milos Forman's THE FIREMAN'S BALL had both these effects on me.

Popcorn or candy? For me it's more about: life inspiration versus film inspiration, using humor versus using drama, being true versus being enjoyable.

Ten Burning Questions: 4 month, 3 weeks, 2 days (AFI Day 4)
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About Red_Carpet_Worthy

Sierra Archer
(Red Carpet Worthy)

The Red Carpet Worhy Program a international non profit (501c3).
This program is geared towards supporting the arts responsibly and offering financial assistance, professional polishing and opportunity to individuals who are pursuing a career in the creative arts. Participants of this program are considered to be
Red Carpet Worthy Ambassadors (RCWA) on Film Festival Carpets all over he world, and are spokesmodels for leading fashion designers and elite Products.

RCWA cover the Film Festivals in a reporter type fashion and The Red
Carpet Worthy Channel is the first to offer LIVE coverage of film
festivals, along with coinciding podcasts, to the world.


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