Bucharest ain’t what it used to be… No, this is not nostalgia for some golden days, but the reason why I decided to come back to it in the first place.
I probably fall under the ‘re-pat’ category, someone who used to be an expat and returned to their country of birth. When I had left Bucharest for the UK in 2008, my hometown wasn’t by far as cool as I’ve seen it grow into the past few years. For my taste at least, it used to be bland, there weren’t that many 'have-to-go-to' events and it was never exciting to tell much to foreigners about it.
Now I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else! Although London seemed the place to be for a filmmaker like myself, whenever I came back here on holiday I noticed small but essential changes in the city’s vibe, which were partly the reason I felt attracted to living here again. More interesting events appeared, locals with loads of personality popped up, there was more diversity in dress sense and more openness in general.
It’s probably because, since we entered the EU, more people studied, worked and traveled abroad, got a wave of inspiration and brought it back with them. This is now expressed in interior design, quirky events and a fresh life attitude. All this makes me feel part of the city and not just an outsider who can’t wait to leave for the West, as many of my peers have done.
Although in my process of recalibrating to Bucharest I’ve discovered awesome hang-out spots, one thing that’s missing compared to London are cool arthouse cinemas. We are in dire need for more in Bucharest (and in the country), as too many small cinemas have lost out in the battle with multiplexes… However, my favourite one is still standing! Cinema Elvire Popesco is part of the French Institute and is appropriately stylish, with a programming reflective of the Francophone film taste.
Whenever I stepped inside this space I dreamt of shooting my short film here, because my main character is a cinephile with a lot of respect for such arthouse cinemas. The screening room has an intriguing design reminding of a modernist church - a feeling which inspired the film’s poster and also matches my moto of ‘cinema is my paradise’ or at least a space that feels like home.
While the location seems so elegant, the people working here are the furthest from being cold or distant. Bogi, who is responsible for the cinema and its events or Robert the projectionist, for instance, were so lovely and forthcoming… I could say that the Romanian dream can come true!
Born out of a desire to keep in touch with “my British side”, I wrote and directed the short comedy ‘Must Love Kubrick,’ which is very dear to me, because it combines my love of cinema, British humour and the newfound love for Bucharest. It's still in post-production and if you want to be part of our little film, you can help us out with a contribution on Indiegogo here. It’s about a British expat going on film dates with Romanian girls. Almost like my story, but in reverse! :)
Words & Pictures by Alma Andreescu
Want to hear more stories of Bucharest and other dynamic cities? Check out Issue 2 of our print journal, a perfect addition to your coffee table collection! https://store.acitymadebypeople.com/