Miruna BerescuFrom: Bucharest Born on: 24 January 1976 Occupation: Anonimul Fest Director, DaKINO Artistic Director, Movie Producer
Miruna Berescu is the director of the Anonimul (Anonymous) Film Festival since the beginning, 2004, and the artistic director of the DaKINO Film Festival, where at the age of 20 she was first spectator. As a young woman lived in limited communism, as action, word, information or food, with her mother a Latin language teacher and engineer father, discovered only after the revolution that the world can be different from what she experienced. And once the gates were opened, she saw the first French or English movies, something completely unlike from the Romanian-Russian TVs ones watched on TVR2 channel. She finally became loyal to cinematic promises when at age 16 she was amazed by a projection of the director Peter Greenaway, the first “milestone,” as Miruna calls the moments when she lives something special. Then, she continued from movie to movie until the meeting with Dan Chișu, the founder of DaKINO. After a few years she left the project (not for good) in order to respond to the challenge that Anonimul meant. “I had free hand, I was allowed to do something that no one believed in”, Miruna tells about the start moments of the Anonimul.
“I’m glad you’re in the field you’ve always wanted”, says one of her former classmate to which she recently reconnects. She didn’t know what to react and pronounced an extended and doubtful “Yeees …”. She still doesn’t realize how visible was her film attraction for others.
I read about her independence from high school, when she shared the knowledge of English language and computer to the beginners, and I asked from where the autonomy need came. “It was more than independence, it was understanding”, Miruna corrects me. “An understanding even of someone else’s opinion, which shouldn’t necessarily be as mine. I knew how things was and I didn’t get upset or angry that someone is against me. Even now, I share with my mom very different opinions on subjects that are important to me. It can be harmony although the opinion is not shared. In addition, I always wanted to have my money and not to borrow or ask it from my parents. There was a joy in inviting my mother out to a coffee and paying myself for it.”
Photo: Sarajevo IFF, personal archive
For me, the name Miruna Berescu means movie. For someone else, Anonimul, DaKINO, the director or the lady producer. For others it’s just Miruna. The last I wanted to ask for what she is searching in a movie. And this is her answer:
MS: Miruna, what are you looking for in a movie?
It depends on the purpose.
If I see it for me, then I definitely go to the cinema, because I need the atmosphere from there. I’m that type of person who doesn’t look at the trailer at all. Because of this, I expect to see how it is and where it leads me, if it leads me, because not all of them can captivate my attention and keep it till the end.
Professionally, I don’t watch sooo many movies, because the whole team at Anonimul knows exactly the style and the needs of the festival, being easy to find the right movies. Ionuț Mareș, who is in charge of short film selection, see a larger number of productions, and he can reach up to 300 or more movies.
Otherwise, I’m more involved in an after selection, following the first one made by Ludmila Cvikova, where I give my opinion for a few extra films. I say what I think is best suited for the “north movies” style of the fest.
But I generally don’t look for something, I don’t have a list of personal criteria to check, but I expect that specific feeling, the journey.
MS: How much does the idea of a movie matter?
The idea is important, but the story is even more important than the idea. Besides, you can kill a great idea through the way you tell it. Often it’s not about the story, it’s about how you say it. As a spectator, I look at a screen and then, apart from what it is told to me, matters a lot also how it is told. The aesthetics. I’m sure this makes the difference between a good movie and a memorable one.
I would love to have an idea, even ordinary, and put it in the hands of brilliant directors like Kar Wai Wong or Yorgos Lanthimos, and see the results. I’m sure we would be amazed. If you look at the films produced by the two so far, and observe the atmosphere, the aesthetics, the details, you start wondering if the idea and the script are less important than the way the director filter it all through his mind. That’s what I would love to know! What’s in the head of Mr. Lanthimos, Kar Wai Wong or Chan-wook Park. For me, their movies are absolutely fascinating. I sit and wonder how a man so smart, precise, and articulated as Chan-wook Park, can amaze us so much. Whoever is impressed by his film, will remain impressed. And Yorgos Lanthimos is a very talented Greek director who manages to translate what is in his head into the movie (and only he knows what’s in his head). I think many talented people have difficulties here: in putting on the screen what they have in mind. Yorgos does this fantastically well and I can somehow confirm with my own experience, because after years of watching his first films, I still remember full sequences from them. It stuck in my head.
A similar “game” to the one where you give the ordinary idea to extraordinary minds, we tried a while ago when we created 3 short films under the title Omnibus Anonimul – a series of productions with common thread (whether it is theme, premise or a turning point) made by different directors. Andi Vasluianu, Dorian Boguță and Emanuel Pârvu were those who accepted our proposal in 2008.
Ideas for different projects are many and diverse, but from concept to the final product sometimes goes years, and often the budget is one of the impediments.
Photo: Andra Mirea
MS: How much innovation must be brought from one year to another year in a 28-year and 15-year festival?
There are 2 very different projects. DaKINO is in Bucharest, the Anonimul is in Sf. Gheorge, the first one has something to regain, from my point of view, the other needs extraordinary good content, but also a lot of work, because the titles aren’t the only factor that brings people in Danube Delta. Somehow, at DaKINO I think there is more need for new, but keeping the structure so that we don’t confuse the spectator, to know he is coming to the same festival. For me, DaKINO is linked to the Palatul Copiilor (Children’s Palace), the place where it was organized when I was in public. I remember how it evolved to broken glass windows because in the audience was no longer free chairs in the Kill Bill projection, and there was a need for another projection next night. Or how, we expected 300 people, but appeared 800 at The Tree of Life, directed by Terrence Malick, and the Muzeul Țăranului Român’s court (The Romanian Peasant Museum) suddenly became too small. There was people who stood in “one foot” or through trees. It was crazy then.
So, DaKINO, had many houses, Children’s Palace, Patria Cinema, Scala Cinema or M.Ț.R.
In contrast, at Anonimul, Sf. Gheorghe was a saint place. I know that place in festival clothes or as shown in the 2 or 3 visits we make for the preparations before. It is impossible for me to see it outside the festival, because my mind only conceives that atmosphere.
After all these years in which I made festivals, I think respect for your audience is the most important, no matter how much innovation you bring. The ultimate consumer, at which you are always thinking, is the one who comes and stands in front of the screen, so don’t lose yourself and don’t forget that you are doing everything for him. Just as I feel the respect and the effort my colleagues, from the country or outside it, have put in their projects, so my public from DaKINO or Anonimul feels it.
MS: Miruna, how are you or how do you feel during Anonimul?
I’m pretty nervous, I look after people, I want to know how many have come, how many have registered, and everything is about them. Related to feeling, I feel profound the incredible silence moments. There are movie sequences when 4,000 people keep a complete silence. It’s unreal. And there are the moments when I look from somewhere behind, and I see the screen, but also the sky, from Sf. Gheorghe, full of stars.
I said that after so many years of organization, maybe I should enjoy together to the whole team the present. It’s a project that demands a lot, but it also offers a lot. Unfortunately, it has often happened to truly appreciate the festival, only in Bucharest, after I come back home.
And it doesn’t have to be that way, I don’t have to wonder how beautiful it was after it’s over, but to live then, on the spot, every moment.
Miruna likes things harder to do, although she wouldn’t consider herself competitive. She likes new activities, learning from others or from her own, as she likes new furniture, minimalism … northern movies.
“I wanted to do math …”, she explained, when I asked her a slightly metaphorical question, then she laughed. She may have been a good mathematician if these movies didn’t take her minds, because hes brain is always alert, flooded by thoughts and ideas, professional concerns or family and friends. In her case, mental traffic stops only when she meets sea or ocean, when she takes a vacation between Anonimul and school, the two milestones of the family. On the beach she is sitting like a cat in the sun, sometimes reading, sometimes … just standing there. She narrows her eyes and says with memories in her voice: “And if I enjoy that specific hours, after 6 o’clock in the evening, when is sunny, but not too powerful … everything tends to perfection. Furthermore, if it’s a Greece sunset at 7 pm, it has already touched it.”
Otherwise, she is happy with a run at the sea, talking to her, “changing some impressions”, but it’s just a mouthful of air and resetting in the daily routine. The complex relaxation process requires more.
***Photo: Claudia Ciocan
MS: Your life partner is a university professor, film & theater director and film, serial & theater actor. Is it complicated to live with a man so passionate and involved in what he does?
I think it depends on man.
I have had easy and complicated relationships and I don’t know if the way they evolved was influenced by the job.
I had very long relationships and obviously if they were long, there were a few. For the moment. (she laughs for a short moment, but then re-becomes serious) I was married, I divorced, and I just think the men in my life were very different. I cannot say that I have always searched for something in the couple relationship … either, I searched and I didn’t find it and still looking I found different people … or they found me. I don’t even know how it is. After all, for me, relationships have a lot to do with coincidence, with luck. I haven’t yet managed to understand how we have certain meetings in life. How a relationship can turn into a friendship and another one, can’t. Things are very different from one man to another, and from one life period to another. What I’m sure, “statistically”, is that I’ve had long relationships.
MS: Ingrid, your daughter is 12 years old. Do you find yourself in her traits?
Ingrid is the center of my life, nothing is more important than her.
I was almost 30 years old and although I loved children, we weren’t (me and her father) at all determined to conceive one. We always said “it’s not the right time”. After she appeared, everything has changed. I remember when I first saw her and how I felt like a second life starts. Nothing compares to what was before. And I know, no matter where I am or what I do, if she needs me, I’m leaving.
Our first resemblance was remarked by a close friend of mine, to which I mentioned, when Ingrid was about 7 years old: “It annoys me so much when she rolls her eyes over her head.” And my friend says: “But, who do you think she inherits?” And the truth is that it looks a lot like me, not physically, but in the way she rises her eyebrows and reactions in general. I sometimes see her when she jumps like a child and then she realizes that it’s not the right context. Anyway, with age, I think you control yourself more. You’re tired. (she laughs)
I’m enjoying all these little similarities between us. She’s mine.
Photo: Dragoș Asaftei
MS: What did the unconditional love of a child taught you?
First of all I found out how it is. I mean, forever.
I found in time new valences to this feeling and this role, because I feel that my daughter influences me through the way she is. I try to keep up with the interests she has at this age and we have talks. For example, when we are in the car, on the way, she tells me who Dua Lipa or Cardi B is, although I may want to talk about other things that relates her. When she’s not careful, I’m putting on radio Guerrilla frequency, then she’s changing on what she wants. I put Radio Romania Muzical and she waits 3 minutes and she says: “What is this?”. I answer: “Well, look, the music I was listening to when you were little and …” This whole game also keeps my mind young. Everything is a negotiation and compromise. I think in any kind of relationship, you leave a little bit, the other do the same.
If I think well I’m an annoying mother. I repeat things, from how to differentiate useful sincerity from the useless one – that hurts, to accepting all different people. I think the care manifested for those near you is coming back at some point, because we feel when someone really cares about us. I dislike selfish people and now I try to fight a little with her egocentric part.
After the last sentence, I react fast, saying:
- “We are selfish beings. After all, you have to have this part, don’t you?
She looks at me, smiles, finds better fit in the chair and says:
- “Yeah, you have to have ALSO this part.“
She analyzes my meeting with her ALSO, laughing loudly, while her blond hair shakes easily.
Actually, I confessed to her after the entertainment episode that she is a joyful, lively, positive woman, that eyes outside her social circle perceived her in this way. She is surprised by the remark and we are sitting together and we think.
“Yes, I guess… I didn’t think about it until now, but I had enough moments in the past to make me realize that the laughter is the best remedy for any pain”, Miruna concludes.