PRODUCTION: Romanian Director Andrei Cohn Preps Gefilte Fish


    BUCHAREST: Romanian writer/director Andrei Cohn is preparing to shoot his third feature film Gefilte Fish in April 2022. The film will be produced by Anca Puiu through Romania’s Mandragora in coproduction with French Shellac films and Swiss Bord Cadre.

    The film, loosely based on the novella An Easter Torch / O făclie de Paște by one of the most important Romanian writers I.L. Caragiale (1852-1912), is set at the beginning of the 20th century and questions the inverted mechanism of anti-Semitism.

    Leiba Zibal runs an isolated inn together with his wife and son, living alongside the peasants from the neighbouring village in an atmosphere of “hostile tolerance,” as the politicians of the time described the relationship between the Romanian population and the Jewish community. After Leiba throws out his lazy employee Gheorghe, during the Passion Week, thereby leaving him “without food to put on the table for Easter,” Gheorghe is menacing to come back on the night of the Resurrection.

    “Like every other form of discrimination, anti-Semitism is repulsive, and this is why it intrigues me how a part of the Jewish population could have gone from being the victim to being an aggressor. How is it psychologically possible for an individual persecuted in the place where he was born to make an exodus at the end of which he recreates the same social relations toward a different community that made him leave in the first place? Is not this fateful vicious circle simple proof of the fact that prior to the differences of belonging to a particular community, there are more things that unite us than separate us?”, Andrei Cohn said in a statement. He also penned the script.

    The main characters are played by Doru Nicolae Bem, Nicoleta Lefter and Ciprian Chiricheș. The crew includes well-known Romanian professionals such as DoP Andrei Butică, who lensed Călin Peter Netzer’s Golden Bear winner The Child’s Pose (produced by Parada Film), but also Cohn’s previous two films, as well as editor Andrei Iancu, production designer Cristian Niculescu and costume designer Viorica Petrovici.

    The project received a production grant of approximately 400,000 EUR / 1,975,000 RON from the Romanian Film Centre (CNC) in May 2020.

    The budget is approximately 1.25 m EUR, producer Anca Puiu told FNE.  Discussions involving the Turkish company Zeyno Film as coproducer are undergoing.

    Gefilte Fish will be shot entirely on location at the Oltina lake, in the Constanța county (some 200 km southeast from Bucharest) in April-May 2022. “There will be 33 shooting days and the inn will be entirely built on site”, Andrei Cohn told FNE.

    The film is set to be finished in the winter of 2022.

    Production Information:

    Director Andrei CohnProducer:
    Mandragora (Romania)
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    Shellac (France)
    Bord Cadre (Switzerland) 

    Director: Andrei Cohn
    Scriptwriter: Andrei Cohn
    DoP: Andrei Butică
    Editor: Andrei Iancu
    Production designer: Cristian Niculescu
    Costume designer: Viorica Petrovici
    Cast: Doru Nicolae Bem, Nicoleta Lefter, Ciprian Chiricheș, Mihaela Sîrbu, Cristina Flutur, Ana Ciontea, Palfi Tibor, Erdei Gabor, Ion Coman, Bogdan Farcaș, Iulian Postelnicu, Marian Adochiței, Dragoș Dumitru, Puiu Lăscuș, Codrin Boldea