Adrian and I talked about his new film “The Fixer”, journalism, abuse, slavery, human behaviour and why sometimes compassion is not enough.
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A headline-grabbing sex scandal gives a Romanian trainee at a French news network an opportunity for his big break, in this charged moral drama from Romanian director Adrian Sitaru.
At the heart of The Fixer lies a cautionary moral tale — on the surface a realist procedural in the vein of the Dardenne brothers, Adrian Sitaru’s film is imbued with the signature minimalist approach of the Romanian new wave. Using journalism as his lens, Sitaru asks us to reflect on how far we’re willing to go, and who we’re willing to hurt, to get ahead in a competitive world.
Romanian-born Radu Patru (Tudor Istodor) is a trainee at a prestigious French news network. Serving as a translator and general problem solver, or “fixer,” for the headlining journalists during his trial period, he’s looking to make his big break. He sees his opportunity when two underage Romanian prostitutes are repatriated from France, creating an international scandal. Taking advantage of his language skills and local connections, Radu is prepared to do whatever it takes to interview one of the young girls. But as he ventures into tricky moral ground, he must stop to ask himself if, as an aspiring journalist, he can live with the consequences of his actions, and if, as a father, he’s setting a good example for his son.
Though the imposing buildings and socio-economic policies of Romania’s communist past loom over Sitaru’s characters, universal themes firmly anchor The Fixer in the present. Claudia and Adrian Silisteanu’s intelligent script uses engaging conversations and telling interactions — both inside and adjacent to the film’s central narrative — to paint a fulsome picture of Radu’s world. Naturalistic performances, combined with a desaturated colour palette and fluid hand-held photography, add to the film’s authentic feel.
Exploring rich moral ground, Sitaru seamlessly connects themes of fatherhood, journalism ethics, and the class politics of contemporary Europe. Sitaru never preaches to his audience, instead inviting us, along with his characters, to make our own conclusions.
Adrian Sitaru was born in Deva, Romania. He has directed several features for television and short films. His debut feature, Hooked, screened at the Festival.
His other films include Domestic, Illegitimate and The Fixer.