Interview with Teo Corban (Romania)
Actor of "One floor below"
Name: Martin I. Petrov
Romanian films are always bound to cause much excitment in Cannes.. In this edition of the event, Radu Muntean's One floor below is already one of the most talked about contender. We sat down with the director to know all the details about his Un Certain Regard entry.
Would you say that Patrascu’s family is a traditional Romanian example of contemporary patriarchal families?
It is rather a family that could be found worldwide I think, not specifically a Romanian type.
Patrascu’s seems to be very attached to the family dog and not that close to his son. Did you sense this to be part of his character’s personality?
I wouldn't say that there was an actual lack of communication between father and son. It is common more or less to get pets because the children want them and then the parents end up taking care of them because the kids get bored or distracted.
Why do you think Patrascu’s character didn't want to reveal what he witnessed to the police?
Patrascu has a very normal life. He has his family, his dog, his daily routine, his clients; and this is exactly what he doesn't want to trouble, or ruin. If he told the police the truth, it would had impacted him more morally and personally. The spectator knows exactly the amount of information as Patrascu, so everyone could possibly understand why he was afraid to speak.
What would you do if you were in your character’s shoes?
To a certain point I think the character resembles me. Probably I would react the same way.
Do you think it would be different if the story was not taking place in Romania? Is it a cultural characteristic that Patrascu react the way he does?
Living in Eastern Europe, it can change the way you interact or the way you think about the people surrounding you. But I wouldn't associate the story only with Romania, it deals with existential, psychological and moral factors that are in a way global.
The fact that Patrascu’s son was friend with the killer probably impacted his choice not to get involved…
Actually, the character does not understand the killer’s incentives as well, he is confused. It is the killer who invades Patrascu’s life and not the other way around, and this is what makes him feel uncomfortable.
The film has a slow pace and becomes more intense towards the end. Do you think that the scene of the conflict between Patrascu and the killer, had it been earlier in the plot, would enable the characters to develop more and help us understand their motivation?
I think that the particular order of the scenes is more created based on the character’s personality and the way he reacts is the same. He needs time to process what is happening and only towards the end he is courageous enough to become more active and clear things up.
You’ve worked with many contemporary directors in Romania. Do you think that there is still a ‘Romanian New Wave’ or we can speak of new tendencies in the national cinema?
I don’t believe in the so called ‘new wave’. I think it just happens that many directors, working on extremely different style of films, are put under the same umbrella just because they do different cinema than the one before the revolution.
Do you choose your parts with certain criteria?
I don’t really choose them, they choose me, as there isn't that strong a film industry in Romania. I am mostly a theatre actor, the cinema is more of an occasional thing.
Since you mentioned your theatre acting, do you feel more connected to the audience there - on a personal level - or through cinema, as it’s a medium that reaches wider audiences?
Film is very different, of course, because it gives more visibility and it’s travelling outside the country. The professional satisfaction is currently bigger when doing cinema because I’ve been involved in many fresh projects in the past few years.