This year’s edition of the San Sebastian Film Festival was in the news for all the wrong reasons, with many people mostly angry with the festival’s directors for providing a platform to Johnny Depp and honouring him with a lifetime achievement award. However, this unnecessary obsession detracts from the quality of some of the modern gems that were screened at the festival.
Among them was Blue Moon, a brilliant film by Alina Grigore which revolves around a dysfunctional family in Romania. The official synopsis reads: “A young woman, who struggles to receive a higher education and escape her dysfunctional family. An ambiguous sexual experience with an artist will spur her intention to fight the family’s violence.”
While talking about the origin of the project, Grigore said: “First of all, it was from my childhood. I think I was the only girl in my village who was able to pursue further education. Some of the girls weren’t even able to go to high school. So 15 years later, I went back to the village and I thought the situation would have changed, that things would be better. And I was pretty surprised to find out that in 2021, it is the same thing. And that was, of course, important for me.”
Adding, “I talked to a couple of girls in the village. I realised that when they were telling me stories, there wasn’t a precise storyline. There was a storyline of emotions. When I was listening, I sensed a storyline of feelings. I asked myself who’s seeing the film, and it was important for me for it to be a film of emotions. I still don’t know if the storyline is precise, but the hope is that the storyline of a victim becoming an aggressor is visible.”
Grigore also commented on the relationship of the film with the condition of modern society: “I think nowadays we would all know that we’re all crazy. It’s not about the societies, I feel, but little communities. It’s the idea of being part of a social group, the push to be a part of a group that creates a problem. We’re unable as a society to connect and be honest. Our principles and our morals, whatever you like, it’s pretty much ripping us apart.”
Blue Moon ended up winning the coveted Golden Shell at the San Sebastian Film Festival. The other winners included the likes of Jessica Chastain, 16 -year-old Flora Ofelia Hofmann Lindahl, Tatiana Huezo and Lucile Hadzihalilovic among others.