Thank you in Romanian

Florin Serban, NYC, 1/6/11

I’ve seen several of the great films made by the directors of the New Romanian Cinema and it’s not a language I’m picking up.  But yesterday when I shot Florin Serban, whose first feature, IF I WANT TO WHISTLE, I WHISTLE, is premiering in New York at FilmForum, he confirmed that I have heard one word correctly: the Romanians do say “merci”–but with a slight difference in pronunciation from the French.  After his several repetitions of both versions, hearing no difference, I just nodded.

Florin’s film features riveting, raw performances by a first-time actor, George Pistereanu, (who reminds me of the late, charismatic Russian actor, Sergey Bodrov Jr.) and adolescent inmates who participated in an acting workshop that Florin held at a correctional facility.  Deeply affected by the workshop, Florin has now opened an acting school in Bucharest.

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