Bitter honey

David Reu, film director, 60 years old Interview done by Ioana Daia and Daniela Alexandrescu

I met film director David Reu in the spring of 2001. We were instantly taken with his incredible energy, with his charm and funny stories, as well as with his gentlemanly manners. I then discovered a man who, apart from his impressive carrier as a documentary film-maker (we will only mention here ?}uculescu?, ?Calea Moşilor ? trecut şi prezent?), also manages several other different projects both editorial and in the field of the cinema.

Much to his amazement, instead of discussing his films, we challenged him to tell us about an episode which many would deem unimportant, but which may be representative for the crucial moment of the 1990s. However unusual and singular it may appear to us now, back then it was not at all uncommon that a film maker should become a professional beekeeper or that a film studio should start out as a bee entrance.

What we found very difficult during the transition period from the 1990s onwards was finding a job that would suit your interests and your education. And in the cultural field this was all the more difficult as various domains were disappearing and others became more and more prominent. For instance, press and television which were liable to help solve the current social conflicts got the upper hand, while documentaries became less and less important. You had to have the strength and the energy young age gives you in order to make yourself known in this new context. I was already getting old, I was already older than 55 actually, and I was beginning to ponder more serious matters. I wrote a film script about the transition period, which I called ?Un zid părăsit şi neisprăvit? (The Unfinished, Abandoned Wall), hinting at the fact that everything was about a group of people gathered in one of the abandoned and unfinished ?hunger circuses?1, Ceauşescu?s pet project.

Let?s talk about the transition period ? For us, documentary film-makers, the transition is a little more special because people have given up this cinema genre altogether. Nobody planned or meant for this to happen. It happened because of the carelessness and sheer stupidity of those in charge of this field at the time, to which I may add the desire to have smaller or greater personal benefits or something? The general managers who kept coming and going at the time, although fellow film-makers, pursued their own interest and ruined the documentary genre entirely.

1 Grocery department stores meant for the working-class people, in the form of grand buildings which were left unfinished after the Revolution.

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