After winning the Jury Prize in 2009 for Politist, Adjectiv (Police, Adjective), Corneliu Porumboiu, a Romanian director and script writer, returns to Cannes in Un Certain Regard selection with Comoara (The Treasure). He takes us on a refreshing treasure hunt.
How did you begin to work on this film?
At the beginning, I wanted to make a documentary. A friend of mine, Adrian Purcarescu, who is an actor and director, told me about a legend, according to which the people in his great grandparents’ village had buried their fortunes before the arrival of the communists. I took a film crew with me, a specialist also joined us with a metal detector, and we all went to search for the treasure. We didn’t find it, so I decided to make a fiction film.
Corneliu Porumboiu © Adi Marineci
Please describe your working method and the atmosphere on set. Any anecdotes to share?
I usually do a lot of rehearsing on the film set, but I worked with many amateur actors for this film, so we rehearsed a lot less before the actual shooting. The atmosphere was quite relaxed, I could say. I don’t have really funny things to tell, either. When you make a comedy, things are quite serious on the film set. They even say that the film crew working on a comedy should not laugh during the shooting.
Please share a few words about your actors.
When I wrote the script, I had only one actor in mind, Adrian Purcarescu, the friend who had told me about the legend. He played the supporting actor in the film. For the leading role, I chose Cuzin Toma, an actor whose biography itself enriched the part. The third role was played by Corneliu Cozmei, the pyrotechnician who came along to help search for the treasure, when we shot the documentary. We had professional actors come to the casting call, but I was interested in a certain type of body language, which I could not find in them.
What are your views on the film industry in your country?
Romania produces quite a lot of films: around 15-20 per year. Film distribution suffers a lot, because there are very few cinemas, and art houses are almost nonexistent. I hope the Romanian audience will ask for more and more Romanian films to watch.
What sources of artistic inspiration have you drawn upon in your work?
There are many films and directors that were, and still are, inspiring to me: from Chaplin and Buster Keaton to Eric Rohmer and Jean Luc Godard. For example, “Full Moon in Paris” is a film that I watch with my crew every time I make a film.
Thursday 21st May / Debussy Theatre / 11am - 4.30pm