Metronom, as seen by Alexandru Belc

Picture of the film METRONOM by Alexandru BELC © Alin Ciuchi

Romanian director and screenwriter Alexandru Belc tells the story of Ana, who lives in the country's capital of Bucharest during the despotic era of Ceaușescu (1972). Having come to present a letter at the headquarters of Radio Free Europe, which broadcasts the music program clandestinely, the adolescent experiences first-hand the violence of the secret police (Securitate). Metronom is the first film in un Certain Regard.

What inspired you to begin work on this film?

I was inspired by 70's music, by Radio Free Europe, by the thirst of freedom of a generation, my parents' generation, under a strict regime.

Please describe your working method and the atmosphere on set.  

As a director/screenwriter I discovered that there are so many things on the set that you cannot control and, in the same time, there are so many good things that could come up during shooting, so I turned the script more into a shooting guide and I wrote/rewrote some of the dialogues on the day of the shooting, on my way to the set, on a coffee shop nearby, or directly on set, with all the crew there, listening to loud music.

Please share a few words about your actors.

I worked with both young and well-known actors. Being a film about adolescence, it was important for me to work closely with the young actors and listen to their input regarding their characters, the dialogue and the nuances of the text. Their input to the story was invaluable.

What did you learn during the course of making this film?

I learned that a story is a living thing that evolves step by step during every stage of the production. Sometimes the limits, or some budget constrains could lead to great things that you never thought about in advance. When you start the production of a film, you should always be ready for surprises and, why not, for happy accidents.

What would you like people to remember from your film?

I hope that this film will reach also the younger audience. I want them to learn that, there was a time when the concept of never”, we will never see each other again” was a real thing.

Today we often forget how hard it was to grow up under a strict regime, how was the life of a teenager in that times. 


What inspired you to become a filmmaker?  What were the sources of your inspiration?

I always wanted to make documentary films. It must be the interest I have in people's life stories. I'm interested in history and historical memory. Perhaps that's why my previous documentary films are about the ruins of the past, whether they were represented by former giant socialist factories, or disappearing cinemas.


What is your cult film and why?

They are so many… Let's say that my cult film right now is Hal Hartley's debut film – The Unbelievable Truth, a low budget dark comedy from the 90's. I love the characters, the dialogue and I find them to be perfect. It's a movie I can go back and rewatch it any time.

Can you tell us about your next project?

I couldn't tell much about my next project as it is in a very early stage of development. It's a controversial story based on true events that I'm following closely.