Three years after his first feature, Back Home, competed in the official competition of the Sarajevo International Film Festival, Romanian director Andrei Cohn is currently in post-production with his second feature, 1983 (working title), which explores the abusive past of communist Romania. The film is being produced by Anca Puiu for Mandragora Film, and post-production is expected to end in February.
The screenplay, written by Cohn, is set in the 1980s and centres on Dinu (Alexandru Papadopol, also the lead in Back Home), an average man who spends a blissful day at the seaside with his wife (Diana Vladu) and their children. In stark contrast, one day later, we see Dinu in a cell waiting to be questioned by the communist police. With him in the cell is another man, Vali (Iulian Postelnicu, best known as the mysterious villain in Radu Muntean’s One Floor Below, and soon we find out that he is the protagonist’s torturer, whose only job is to “work” Dinu so that he tells the investigators the truth.
The film’s budget amounts to approximately €334,000. The Romanian Film Center - CNC supported the production with approximately €90,000. 1983 was shot for two days on location at the Romanian seaside last September, and then on a sound stage in the Bucharest Film Studios. Andrei Butica was the director of photography.
On what compelled him to write the story, Cohn says that the one particular aspect of communism that he was most preoccupied with over the years was “this possibility of being unexpectedly teleported from your universe to an abusive one, for no apparent reason. I have always asked myself how I would manage in this situation.” The writer-director describes his film as an “involuntary parable of what Romanian communism was. It is about a victim, a torturer and the cell in which the two characters re-write the evolution of Romanian society from the underestimation of communism [in the 1940s] to its complete acceptance.”
1983 is expected to be released domestically in the second half of 2019.