Vintage Sahia: Pick and Mix

A filmmaker and a sculptor enjoy coffee together in an orchard. A rail worker talks of growing old. A team of soldiers rescue the crew of a Turkish vessel. A village is threatened by a bear, while another prepare for the arrival of its annual film festival. Each of these snapshots refers to a film produced by the “Alexandru Sahia” studio, but other than this, what could they possibly have in common? Perhaps the fact that they all surprise us, coming from a studio typically seen as the mouthpiece of a political regime. This year’s VINTAGE SAHIA programme consists of six films which go beyond the standard themes associated with the communist era, instead inspiring us to consider features such as documentary observation and portraiture, on-camera performance, and the management of the unexpected. As always, the programme includes not only mainstream films, but also some of the minor, ephemeral productions of the studio. The opening film is a recent discovery we are rather proud of. Directed by Mirel Ilieșiu, one of Sahia’s most popular filmmakers, it was designed to celebrate the studio’s fifth anniversary. It is somewhat of an “institutional home movie“, and provides a rather surprising insight into the family-like ethos of a propaganda film studio in the midst of Romania’s Stalinist decade.