‘The Lute’ is the story of a perky old man living in an alternative steampunk past, inspired by Romania in the 1920s. His job is to collect people’s memories on vinyl records, and he already has a great collection of disks in his workshop. He believes that sad memories bring only harm, and they must be erased. By playing his lute, he steals sad memories and transforms them into songs etched on vinyl. Unfortunately for the ones involved, he leaves them smiling aimlessly while they actually lose their idiosyncrasies and subtleties, and thus remain hollow shells. Only when an old lady’s lost child memory is too strong to steal, does he understand that all our memories, even the bad ones make us who we are, they are all part of us. He must face his own painful memory in order to learn that people cannot be complete without all their emotions flowing through them.
My work as a filmmaker so far has gravitated around feelings which arise from traumatic experiences. Therefore I was naturally interested in ‘The Lute’, which focuses on the inner architecture of characters who are part of a collective trauma, a story inspired by the scriptwriter’s personal experience. I believe this is an essential story to tell not only because it deals with Romanian culture, aesthetic and history, but also because it touches upon another collective trauma still affecting Romanian society. When I first read the script about a 19th century fire tragedy that took place in the that city, my mind travelled in space and time to Bucharest in 2015, when 64 people lost their lives in a fire during a concert. The Lute talks about the importance of processing the feelings such tragedies create rather than bury them deep inside ourselves and ignore them. In order to shape this concept, I will juxtapose a dark, monochrome, steampunk aesthetic with colorful and textured details.