3 × 3 – staff picks from TIFF

14 June, 2022

The Transylvania International Film Festival (also known as TIFF), the largest event in Romania dedicated to cinema, will take place between the 17th and 26th of June this year. After two years of the pandemic, in which we could enjoy fewer screenings than usual at the festival, most held in an open-space format, TIFF returns this year in full swing, with over 250 screenings in over 15 locations across Cluj-Napoca.

Because it’s hard for us to choose our favorites, and we know that our readers can’t wait for the festival to start, we asked three of the staff members of #TIFF2022 to recommend three films from this year’s program: Tudor Giurgiu, Cristian Hordilă and Crăița Nanu were the ones to take up the task. 

Tudor Giurgiu – President of TIFF

Tudor Giurgiu (personal archive)

Moonwalk One – INVADERS cine-concert. An unmissable audiovisual experience, which brings back to life an important historical moment, but with a twist in its atmosphere. The 1969 documentary depicts the first space mission to the moon, and director Theo Kamecke managed to represent it exactly in the way that it was perceived by those who were living at the time: spectacular, tense, and touching. The music of the French band INVADERS comes in to round up the atmosphere, constructing the illusion of weightlessness and intensifying the dramatic nature of the sequences that will be screened at the Students’ Culture House on the 21st of June.

Hallelujah (dir. Dayna Goldfine, Dan Geller). A splendid documentary, screening for the first time in Romania at TIF, after being a hit at last year’s edition of the Venice Film Festival. It tells the story behind Leonard Cohen’s hit song, a story about the journey from rejection to the very 

The Innocents (dir. Eskil Vogt). A film by a Norwegian director who has been highly appreciated at the Cannes Film Festival, Eskil Vogt, it’s about a different type of superhero than the ones Hollywood has gotten us used to. Four kids with superpowers, who are trying to hide them from adults, cause a series of uncontrollable events, a group of “innocents” who regard the world naively, unaware of the violence that they unleash, a film that manages to stay close to reality even though it’s actually a unique incursion into the realm of fantasy.

Crăița Nanu –  Programmer, international competition

Crăița Nanu. Photo by Claudiu Popescu

The Babysitter (dir. Monia Chokri). It’s my main crush from the main competition. The second feature film by Canadian director and actress Monia Chokri, who is also one of the lead performers. In it, the Internet goes wild over a sexist joke that was spoken after many beers, upending the life of a couple that has a small child. The babysitter is an agitated, demented, talkative, and mentally sound comedy, despite all the signals (that appear from the very start) that the film is headed towards a total mental breakdown. A total treat.

The Blind Man Who Did Not See the Titanic (r. Teemu Nikki). This one got stuck on my retina, first because it looks amazing, and at the same time, it’s awfully claustrophobic. A difficult and surprising combination. Maybe also because I haven’t cried this hard at a film since Mar Adentro. Only after I watched the film did I read the story of the character on whom the film was based, and so my understanding was doubled. The goodness that comes to light from this character is hard to put in words. It’s about hope, despite all odds. No more Leo, Kurt Russel is now my sweetheart! Of course, until the contrary is proven.

Timekeepers of Eternity (r. Aristotelis Maragkos). The first thing I fell in love with about this film was the endeavor itself. The Langoliers was a miniseries that was released in 1995, adapted from a short story by Stephen King, which resembles most miniseries based on King. Timekeepers does what the label says – it’s a film about a life keeper, a mad (re)inventor. The director takes the miniseries and shortens it as much as possible, reorganizing it so that only its very essence is the only thing to remain, and sets it on the screen with a black-and-white animation, in a collage style. The antagonist’s obsession with broken paper becomes maddening. The topic is the same, and it works. Time travels, even when they’re failed, are never out of style. Thus, Timekeepers resuscitates a film that might have otherwise completely slipped from one’s memory. There’s a lot of love here, in this process of remaking, and a very cool desire to bring the past back to the present, under a different shape. And it works. And I’m constantly thinking back on this and I like what I feel about it.

Cristian Hordilă –  Festival manager

Cristian Hordilă. Photo by Nicu Cherciu

The three films that come to mind are from the 2022edition of the Berlinale, which was my first festival on the circuit after the pandemic began.

I started Berlin off with Rimini (dir. Ulrich Seidl). Even if, in all appearance, it’s a very tough and perverse film, I felt that it conceals a lot of sadness and romanticism, which was exactly how Berlin hit me after the pandemic.

I then went in for Call Jane (r. Phyllis Nagy), where I laughed a lot and enjoyed the courage of women who were fighting against the patriarchal obstruction in the sixties and seventies. Elisabeth Banks is simply wonderful in the main role and I don’t think there’s any better film to open this edition than this one – one that is touching, encouraging, and inspiring at the same time.

My Coup de Coeur, which made me feel both happy and emotional at the same time, was Les passagers de la nuit (r. Mikhael Hers) – a story set in Paris during the eighties, regarding the emotions and intimacy in the life of a family that has passed through a divorce, all of it enveloped in a ton of cigarette smoke.

I was very happy that Mihai [n. Chirilov] decided to include them in the selection of TIFF 2022 and I hope that they will all have a large audience.


Tickets and festival passes are available on the official website of TIFF.  See you there!

An article written by the magazine's team