Ferentari is a run-down neighbourhood in Bucharest largely inhabited by Roma. "The closest to a ghetto you can get in contemporary Romania", according to director Ivana Mladenovic. This is where she sets her fiction feature debut, a modern Romeo and Juliet – or rather Romeo and Julio. Ferentari is not somewhere you’d expect to find an introverted academic like 40-year-old Adi. The anthropologist comes to the area soon after being dumped to study the Roma pop music, manele. Adi needs help navigating this shady, often mob-related, world and finds this in kind-hearted criminal Alberto.

As do many contemporary Romanian filmmakers, this originally Serb director plays an intriguing game with fact and fiction in her film, which is populated by amateur actors from Ferentari. Soldiers. Story from Ferentari is based on the eponymous, semi-autobiographical book by Adrian Schiop, who also plays the lead in this loose adaptation.

Original title
Soldatii. Poveste din Ferentari
Filmmaker
Ivana Mladenovic
Country
Romania, Serbia, Belgium
Year
2017
Medium
DCP
Length
119’
Language
Romanian
Producer
Ada Solomon, Jelena Mitrovic, Cassandre Warnauts, Jean-Yves Roubin
Production Company
Hi Film Productions, Film House Bas Celik, FraKas Productions
Sales
Beta Cinema
Writer
Adrian Schiop, Ivana Mladenovic
Cinematography
Luchian Ciobanu
Editor
Cătălin Cristuțiu
Production Design
Adrian Cristea
Sound Design
Aurelien Lebourg, Yves Bemelmans
Cast
Adrian Schiop, Vasile Pavel–Digudai, Ștefan Iancu, Nicolae Marin–Spaniolul, Hashimoto Kana, Dan Bursuc, Cezar Grumăzescu