ANA, MON AMOUR
Calin Peter Netzer
Calin Peter Netzer was born on May 1st, 1975 in Petrosani, Romania. In 1983, Calin moved with his parents to Stuttgart, where he attended elementary school and high school. After his graduation in 1994 he studied Theatre and Film with a focus on directing at the University of Bucharest, Romania.
He gained great attention with his third film CHILD’S POSE, which was the first Romanian film ever to be awarded the Golden Bear at the Berlinale 2013. In addition, it is the most successful Romanian movie of the last 15 years.
His previous films MARIA and MEDAL OF HONOR have already been shown at numerous and important festivals all over the world. His debut film MARIA received the Special Jury Price in Locarno as well as the Silver Leopard in the category Drama, and was nominated for the European Film Award 2003. His second movie MEDAL OF HONOR was awarded the Silver Alexander in Thessaloniki, and has also won other prizes in Turin, Miami, Durres, Los Angeles and Zagreb.
ANA, MON AMOUR is the story of Ana and Toma and the thread of Ana’s mental illness, which runs through their relationship – their extremely challenging situation molds the life they share: it exposes and reinforces the common dynamics between people who want to be there for each other. It envelopes the couple in co-dependency, and gradually destroys their partnership from the inside out.
Toma and Ana meet as students in the literature faculty. On their very first date, Ana has one of her “episodes”. Toma responds to her suffering with understanding and caring, and emotional intimacy between them develops immediately. When their parents try to sabotage the relationship and a physical fight between Toma and his father ensues, it only strengthens their connection.
They spend more and more time together and Ana’s “episodes” become increasingly frequent, alternating between phobias and panic attacks. During one particularly severe attack they call an ambulance, but when the emergency doctor is unable to find any medical problem, he refers her to a psychiatrist. The mental health professional, however, merely prescribes her stronger medication, without offering further treatment.
Ana’s condition deteriorates. She becomes afraid of being outside on her own, at some point even in Toma’s company. Soon she is unable to leave the students’ hall of residence, and, finally, she feels confined to her own bed. Toma now even needs to accompany her to the bathroom.
The bond between them grows stronger, but Toma begins to neglect his social life, and his closeness with Ana starts to become transgressive. Slowly, however, Ana’s condition begins to improve through Toma’s care, and in his company she is able to leave the building again. The couple’s situation starts to normalise gradually, at least to a certain extent.
Then Ana gets pregnant and they decide to marry. Following an examination, the gynecologist refers her to a psychotherapist. For the first time Ana receives real help. After her child is born, she is doing much better. At last, Ana dares to leave the house by herself.
Some time passes and Ana regains her independence. She thrives in her new job as an editor at a women’s magazine and before long she is appointed editor in chief. Toma gives up his full-time job, to take care of their child.
While Ana is finally experiencing a life free from fear and doubt, the bond between her and Toma shows its first cracks. Ana changes profoundly, becomes more independent and appears to want to dominate Toma – the relationship of partners begins to look like a superior-subordinate dynamic. Ana emancipates herself from Toma, who sees the root of this - in his view - extreme development, as due to the influence of Ana’s psychotherapist. They have arguments with increasing frequency, until Ana resolves to untangle herself from Toma. After years of intimacy and his relentless fight for their relationship, Toma now shows signs of giving up struggling and speaks of separation.
The narration of the events is non-linear, jumping backward and forward in an order that is nevertheless emotionally coherent with regard to Ana and Toma’s relationship. The resulting ellipses and juxtapositions of moments from various phases of the couple’s story, give the audience a different perspective on the dynamics between the two lovers. This unusual scene sequence turns out to be the order in which Toma’s associative memories surface, while he is talking to his therapist. Because at the end of the story, Toma, supposedly the mentally stronger one, needs to seek help following the break-up.
Sophie Dulac Productions
Cezar Paul Badescu
Cezar Paul Badescu