The Waiting Room: Online meeting with Irene Lusztig
Every other week, we will meet on Friday night with one or more such special guests, and some of their films will have been available for a week before on the Eventbook platform. The online discussion will focus on both these older achievements and their latest projects, which will be screened during the festival.
We launch the project through a special meeting with Irene Lusztig, a British-American filmmaker of Romanian origin whose work is a constant attempt to recover images of the past to read among them the unofficial, untold stories, and return their multitude of meanings. Her work often begins with a thorough exploration of an impressive amount of audiovisual archives related to a theme or historical moment - the plurality of perspectives that such images, decontextualized and recontextualized, always provoke is precisely what the filmmaker is looking for. Her favorite subjects are feminism, language and the history of perception and attitudes towards women and their bodies.
Irena Lusztig's first feature film, Reconstruction (2001), retraces the fate of the filmmaker's grandmother, Monica Sevianu, who was involved with her husband in the "Ioanid affair": the 1959 armed robbery of a National Bank vehicle carrying more than a million lei. It resulted in the arrest of the perpetrators, who were put to act their own parts in an educational film, and the execution of all but Monica, who was sentenced to life in prison. Romanian viewers may be familiar with the subject through Alexandru Solomon's 2004 documentary, The Great Communist Robbery, and Nae Caranfil's 2014 fiction film, Closer to the Moon. But Irene Lusztig's Reconstruction vibrates with that unique sensitivity that only the direct, even intimate connection between a filmmaker and her subject provides.
Her next film, The Motherhood Archives (2013), is an experimental documentary that combines archive films about pregnancy, childbirth and raising children from various periods of the twentieth century and contemporary material, forming a complex essay that questions the different aspects of motherhood: identitary, ideological, biological and psychological, and also deeply personal and unrepeatable.