“Touch Me Not”, comments on a film that isn’t yet in cinemas

I’ll start by congratulating Adina Pintilie and her film debut “Touch Me Not” for the Golden Bear it has been awarded at this year’s Berlinale.

It is the second Golden Bear to come to Romania, this time for a co-production, after the one from 2013 won by “Child’s Pose” and we are or should be happy, and honoured. And we are, we the film lovers, but I’m not so sure I can state the same thing about the rest of the public. Ironically said public now, because, for one to actually be considered as part of the public for any kind of product, one must have seen that product in the first place, which is a bit hard at the moment, taking into consideration that “Touch Me Not” has not yet had its premiere in Romania.

And because the aim of this website is to look at the public just as much as is looks at films, let us talk about the wave of criticism, hate and rudeness floating on the social media after the news about the awarded film. Interesting isn’t it? For a Romanian film to be stigmatized on Facebook by the Romanians just after, or because it won a prize at an international film festival, even before premiering in Romania. I thought the same thing…

Not to get me wrong, I encourage opinions and criticism, I encourage personal views and I absolutely do not blame or judge personal tastes. But I also consider essential seeing a film before having an opinion about it and that does not only apply to films. What saddened me the most was that the public, a certain segment of the public, judged a film, an awarded film without watching it and with no intention of watching it, because, as they have clearly stated numerous times on Facebook, Youtube or other online platforms that have a place for public comments, there is no need to see it, to know it is a worthless piece of *cinematography*; because it’s about sex, or about gay relationships, because it promotes the ugliness and “lacks” of the Romanian society. Now, I am really sorry to inform you, and this shouldn’t come as a surprise, but not films are what destroy our image as a nation in Europe.

I have not had the luck to be part of the audience at the Berlin International Film Festival; which means I have not yet seen the film. Thus, it is not my place to spread “valuable judgments” on the internet. What I will say though, is that I understood, from secondary sources, that the film is about intimacy, (self) discovery and (self) acceptance. Intimacy… what a strange and distant concept to us all, we might want to work on that.

Other complaints would be that the film is not for the public (well it’s not in cinemas yet, so yes, it has not yet GOT to the public). It is not educational enough, it is not ethic, or moral or pretty enough. What does that “educational” even mean? For who isn’t it educational? Why should it be educational? What should a film educate one to do or to be? That this product no one saw isn’t art. That it’s too obscure (again maybe because it’s not yet in cinemas) and it (and contemporary Romanian cinema in general) doesn’t deal with contemporary issues like the educational system (“Graduation”, “One Step Behind the Seraphims”), or the health system (“The Death of Mister Lazaescu”, “Fault Condition”), or the Justice (Why Me?) or history (“The Dead Nation”), or deforestation (I cannot exactly think about a concrete example, but there is a pretty long scene of a deforested industrial and abandoned landscape in the ending of “Silent Wedding”) and then… as I already said, we might want to work on what we understand through intimacy in this contemporary society where we share anything and everything on social media from what we eat to where we sleep and with who. That it had been criticized in the international press, especially in The Guardian (by a film critic who actually watched the film, and who never said it wasn’t moral, ethic or educational enough). That it is not for kids, well most of the TV shows for kids are not for kids nowadays, and then, not every film can or needs to be for children, as not every book is. I’ve never heard anyone complaining about Orwell’s 1984  not being a fairytale, and the film adaptation of the book probably isn’t either. Not to compare the two in any sense, this was just a random example.

And after all the shaming quieted down, probably because the Berlinale stopped being a trend last week, there came the Oscars. And according to the Romanian users of social media, who randomly comment on whatever news show in their newsfeed, the films awarded at the Oscars are worthless pieces of *cinematography*. Fair enough, they are entitled to an opinion, and far from me to make any kind of comment on the films which competed for the Oscars this year.

But why are these films worthless pieces of *cinematography*? Because they aren’t artsy enough, intellectual, introspective, layered enough; because these films are highly commercial and too politically correct. That a public (that segment of the public I’m talking about now) is above these films, not high above enough though to watch a film before writing disgraceful comments about it from behind their tiny laptop’s screen, a film which has been awarded at a film festival where usually compete films that aren’t that commercial, that are independent, sometimes even experimental, that explore certain aspects of the human nature like… intimacy.

P.S. This article does not intend to offend anyone. detur la Preciziei is a website dedicated to everyone, that embraces all types of public, not only connoisseurs, not only cinephiles, not only film enthusiasts but everyone who is respectful enough to have watched the films they are publicly stating an opinion about.

by Maria Mantaluta

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