Cea mai fericita fata din lume / The Happiest Girl in the World
Romania / Netherlands, 2009
29 March 2010
Walter Reade Theater, New York
Cast: Andreea BoÈ™neag (Delia), Violeta Popa (Mrs. Fratila), Vasile Muraru (Mr. Fratila)
A family drama, an absurdist comedy, a spot-on critique of capitalism. All of these and more.
Caught between a typically rough-and-ready film crew, supercilious ad agency reps, creepy client, and her self-absorbed parents – starting her period, during an historic heat wave, forced to drink ever-growing quantities of an increasingly vile “fruit drink” while endlessly reciting an inane script as afternoon light decays into night – 18-year-old Delia Fratila is the new-found star of the latest commercial for a worthless product in newly capitalist Romania.
For his feature-film debut, Radu Jude drew from a story from one of his first commercial shootings, in which a teen-age girl from a poor village was supposed to look happily at the camera and tell the world how she sent in three juice bottle labels and won a car. He saw the girl was not happy at all, and finally asked her if something was wrong. An inspired film emerged:
“Cea mai fericitÄƒ fatÄƒ din lume is a film about compromises and lies; about the language of film being used in order to cheat; about happiness, sadness and consumption; about capitalism; and about the way the sun goes down in University Square during the summer.”
Andrea Bosneag is a breakthrough discovery as Delia. In a seemingly effortless, perfect performance, she captures the beauty, ugliness, wisdom, and foolishness of adolescence while shifting expertly between 18-year-old Delia and Delia-as-emerging-actress.
Kudos to New Directors/New Films for scheduling this beautiful film. It was also selected for 2009 Berlinale Forum.
Visit New Directors/New Films website.