Tedy Necula’s debut feature film is one of the most intimate and profound movies we’ve seen in the past year. Starting up as an average day at the metro, the narrative transcends very fast to the plot of a Julio Cortazar short story, ‘The southern highway’ to be precise. In this short story, the plot is set on a highway blocked by an accident, and soon, all the people blocked in traffic started to develop new kind of relations between them; time becomes relative, and with this the whole narrative went to get another dimension of understanding the outside world. Cortazar is a master of the fantasy short story, and as we saw it in ‘Beside Me’, Tedy Necula may be the owner of the secret of transporting the fantastic narrative discourse to another level.
The setting was pretty simple – several people with different back stories are stranded together at the metro. They start bonding and discovering each and everybody’s story, with ups and downs, foregrounding at times the horrible but true way people judge and misjudge one another. Considering this, we would propose that the best sum up of this feature film should be “don’t judge a book by its cover” – and that’s because it is suitable at all levels.
The thing we loved the most in ‘Beside Me’ was the monologue of the priest (played by Constantin Cotimanis), near the end of the movie. We perceive it as being one of the best monologues we’ve ever seen in this festival: deep, blunt, truthful, in a low keyed voice that could melt your heart in a blink of an eye. The actor responsible for this has a great role in the movie, being the threshold between the sides formed in this unexpected situation.
The plot of the movie is happening the day after one of Romania’s most devastating events in modern history – the fire at the Colective club, where more than 60 people died, and other one hundred and forty seven were injured. This particular topic can be found at several moments in the story, and can be very emotional to everyone that lived those days, browsing news websites to find information about the victims, praying their friends would not appear on those lists. All in all, ‘Beside me’ was a revelation! For us it didn’t look much as an inspirational video, but rather than as a reinterpretation in a twenty first century key of a Cortazarian short story – filled with important moments that are intentionally highlighted to give this film many keys of understanding the complex narrative.