Directors Radu Jude and Sergei Loznitsa Talk Their Prolific Careers, ‘Starship Troopers’

Romanian director Radu Jude, fresh off his Golden Bear win at Berlin with “Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn,” wouldn’t mind trying his hand at “Starship Troopers” next, he revealed during a Karlovy Vary Film Festival talk shared with Ukrainian filmmaker Sergei Loznitsa. Basing it “more on the book than the film,” he said, mentioning Paul Verhoeven’s take, as well as opening up about mixed reactions to his Berlinale triumph in his home country.

“I don’t mind people rejecting the film, but it’s more insidious when they offer ‘explanations.’ ‘Look at his name: Jude. Doesn’t it mean ‘Jew’ in German? Of course, it’s a prize given by Jews,’ ” he shared, referring to hateful comments about his story of a teacher facing a scandal after her sex tape goes viral.

“I’ve made films dealing with Romania’s participation in the Holocaust and the enslavement of the Roma people. The reactions can be quite violent, but one of cinema’s functions is to test the society and to provoke it.”

Both are Karlovy Vary regulars: Jude was awarded the Crystal Globe for “I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians” in 2019, while Loznitsa brought home awards for “Artel” and “Portrait.” This year, Loznitsa presented his latest archive documentary “Babi Yar. Context,” about the massacre of more than 33,000 Jews in Nazi-occupied Ukraine in 1941, confirming his plans to follow it with a fiction film about the tragic event.

“I will attempt to make it for the third time. I have already tried with the French [producers] and after that, thank you very much, I will produce it myself. Life is long and the will is strong,” said Loznitsa. With 30 credits to his name, compared with Jude’s 24, he also discussed his prolific career. “First of all, you have to know what you want. Secondly, you need to start doing it instead of waiting. I have made a few films like that, like ‘Maidan’ – I just couldn’t wait.”

“It’s the same with painting,” added Jude, mentioning the works of Picasso or Paul Klee. “You can see they were done quite fast but it’s the kind of work that would disappear if you would only make one every five years. I recently discovered the films of Andy Warhol, made in one day, and they are still great. They are not perfect, but no film ever is.”

The two also shared their views on younger filmmakers, joking that when Jude was named the winner at 2007 Krakow Film Festival with his short “The Tube with a Hat,” Loznitsa was on the jury.

“When someone wants to become a piano player, he works eight hours a day. If you go to an art school, people paint every day. In film schools, people make one 10-minute-long film every six months. Why? Why not make a film every month? When you wait for ideas to come, they don’t. They come when you work,” said Jude, with Loznitsa bemoaning the lack of education.

“I always say, ‘You have to read this and that, and that.’ That’s a lot of books, but when you talk to the people who don’t even know who Sancho Panza was…”

“Not only do I know who he is, I even won the Don Quijote Award in Locarno. I told them it would be more appropriate to give me the Sancho Panza Award,” joked Jude. “One Romanian journalist said that by using all these literary and philosophical quotes in my latest film I wanted to ‘trick’ people into forgetting the porn part.”

While the new technology allows people to make films more easily, the industry still doesn’t support them, noted Jude, mentioning young content creators whose work can still be seen mostly online.

“If you look at TikTok or other similar applications, you can find a lot of films. I call them films because for me, it’s cinema,” he said, praising the decision of Andrei Rus of One World Romania – International Human Rights & Documentary Film Festival to program short videos made by one of Romania’s first vloggers, Bahoi. With Loznitsa arguing that people, and viewers, have simply gotten too comfortable.

“We don’t have a financial crisis – we have a mental crisis. We have a better life, at least compared with how it was 100, 200 years ago, and our brains just got lazy,” he said.

“I do think cinema will change. But I will also change with the cinema.”

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