On body and soul, first sold out movie at TIFF 2017

Oana Vasiliu 06/06/2017 | 15:50

Have you ever wondered how an international awarded movie arrives also on the nationwide silver screens? We did. Business Review has a constant presence at the most important film festivals which are happening in Romania and our readers already know that due to the several talks presented as interviews or articles in this publication with the artistic directors of these local festivals. Long story short, they go and see hundreds of thousands of movies at the most known festivals in the world, make a selection, come home and negotiate for the screenings. But how this story goes when you are a film-industry connoisseur and you simply fall in love with a movie from an international film festival, also in competition? I went behind the scenes with Monica Felea, the co-founder of Bad Unicorn, known nationwide as a communication professional in film industry.

“The movie was already screened in the competition and the reviews and the scorecards were great. I didn’t imagine that I could get a ticket for the later screening. But next day, I woke up very early and I went to the box office to take tickets for the ongoing day which was also my last day at Berlinale. I took my coffee and I waited in line for some time – just because this is how it works in Berlinale, everyone is standing in a queue for quite a long time to obtain tickets for the screenings. I had several options in mind, but somehow I’ve also asked about On body and soul and there were still few tickets available, probably because it was about 07.30 AM in the morning and because the cinema hall of this particular screening was a bit far from the glossy Berlinale atmosphere,” starts the story Monica Felea, the co-founder of Bad Unicorn.

Bad Unicorn is the film distribution company recently launched on the Romanian market, currently the exclusive distributor in Romania of On body and soul, the Hungarian movie which took the Golden Bear at Berlinale this year.

“It was a bit difficult to find the cinema hall, but I figured it out. There was a girl in front of the door of the cinema with a plaque on which it was written in German that she wants ticket for this movie. And I got a bit impressed, to tell the truth,” continues Monica Felea the story. “The movie simply amazed me. And not only me. The entire audience was mesmerized. Nobody moved up until the screen went totally black, we were even enjoying the credits. And then, I left the building and I walked without a destination for some time. This is how deep the movie was to me,” added the distributor. “And all the scenes and the action were so present on my mind, I couldn’t think of everything else but the story of this movie,” continued Monica.

Next day, she met with the other co-founder of Bad Unicorn, Stefan Bradea. Discussing on the idea of distributing this particular movie in Romania, they soon figured out that probably none of the local distributors will proceed. “But this is such a great movie,” argued Monica, and gave Stefan once again all the details about how great and how deeply can move you this movie. From this discussion which took place in the Berlin’s airport until contacting the team behind On body and soul, only few days have passed. Monica told me how Stefan came to her office the next day and asked if he should send an email to the producer of On body and soul. And Monica agreed. But this happened during Berlinale festival, which wasn’t over yet, but some negociation already took place between the two companies. On Saturday night, Monica was watching online the awards gala of the Berlinale festival. All the awards were already given, with two exceptions. “Two more awards were there: the one for best director and the Golden Bear. There is a tradition in Berlinale that nobody takes both of the awards. I instantly checked all the movies I saw there and just two of them were left un-awarded yet, but with great appreciation of the critics and movie goers. One was On body and soul. That was a moment when I knew that this is it. Something, undefined, will happen. And then they announced the winner: On body and soul,” continues the story Monica Felea. Of course, from this point, everything escalated, beginning with the costs of distributing such a movie – because now it was the talk of the world, to the actual distribution, taking also into consideration the horrible situation of the Romanian cinema halls.

TIFF-ing On body and soul

The Berlinale awarded Hungarian film is currently the first screening of this edition of TIFF which gone completely sold out for both screenings. I didn’t got my ticket yet, but I’m hoping to still see the movie. More updates will be presented tomorrow, after the press conference with the leading actress of the movie, Borbély Alexandra. First screening is set to be on June 7, at 20.30, at Cinema Florin Piersic, and the second one on June 9, at  21.45, at Cinema Victoria.

Nationwide On body and soul

The film can be seen in Romania starting June 30. This is a worldwide premiere, Romania being the second country in the world after Hungary where this movie will be released.

About On body and soul

The synopsis offered by Berlinale says that “A slaughterhouse in Budapest is the setting of a strangely beautiful love story. No sooner does Mária start work as the new quality controller than the whispers begin. At lunch the young woman always chooses a table on her own in the sterile canteen where she sits in silence. She takes her job seriously and adheres strictly to the rules, deducting penalty points for every excessive ounce of fat. Hers is a world that consists of figures and data that have imprinted themselves on her memory since early childhood. Her slightly older boss Endre is also the quiet type. Tentatively, they begin to get to know each other. Recognising their spiritual kinship, they are amazed to discover that they even have the same dreams at night. Carefully, they attempt to make them come true. This story of two people discovering the realm of emotions and physical desire, at first individually and then together, is tenderly told by director Ildikó Enyedi, but in a way that also exudes subtle humour. A film about the fears and inhibitions associated with opening up to others, and about how exhilarating it can be when you finally do.”

Photo courtesy of Adi Bulboaca

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