by Ivana Mladenović
(12’, 2015, Romania)
The protagonist of the film, Cristina Pucean, is a double champion of Miss Piranda, a famous Roma beauty and dance pageant taking place in Bucharest. Cristina started belly dancing aged eight. In 2011, at the age of 19, she won the first title of Miss Piranda. Three years later she was once again invited to the competition, this time as a juror. A huge scandal emerged when suddenly she decided to switch roles and to become a counter-candidate to the young women she was supposed to judge. “I threw away the scorecards and decided to participate. It wasn’t premeditated, it was in the spur of the moment. I did it for my fans” she declared to the Romanian publication Can Can. After she stepped on stage, the other members of the jury decided to change the rules as they went along and awarded her for the second time the title of “Miss Piranda.” In the meantime, Cristina has become the most famous dancer on the manele (Urban Roma Folklore) scene. In this work, “Miss Piranda” is filmed in a theatrical way, in a single extended shot which captures her seduction arsenal. Yet while navigating through the raucous, libido charged world of turbo-folk, Miss Piranda remains single and untouchable. At shows and pageants she is always followed by her mother. In a traditional culture, obsessed with respect for the elderly, the mother’s presence has a deterring effect on potentially overeager fans.
Ivana Mladenović graduated from the National School of Film and Theatre (UNATC) in Bucharest in 2010 and finished her MA studies in Film Directing in 2011. Mladenović has a strong interest in marginalized social communities. Her first documentary Turn Off the Lights (2009) follows the destinies of three young ex-convicts after their release from prison. It premiered at Tribeca Film Festival in April 2012 and won the Heart of Sarajevo Award for Best Film Award in the same year. In 2016 she started shooting her first long feature film The Soldiers. A Story from Ferentari for which she received the Transilvania Pitch Stop Development Award (2015).