The Happiest Girl in the World (Cea Mai Fericita Fata din Lume)
The debut feature of Romanian filmmaker Radu Jude, this ironically titled comedy unfolds over the course of a sweltering summer day in Bucharest. Provincial working-class teenager Delia (Andrea Bosneag) has won a new car in a competition run by a soft-drinks company, and she has travelled to the capital with her mother (Violeta Haret Popa) and father (Vasile Muraru) to record in University Square a television commercial promoting a brand of orangeade. The problem is that the sullen Delia has no discernible acting skills, and she’s furious that her parents are planning to sell her prize vehicle in order to fund a guesthouse business.
With its long takes, mainly static camera set-ups, authentic locations and sparing use of music (in this case The Pet Shop Boys’ ‘Rent’) The Happiest Girl in the World has, stylistically at least, plenty in common with other recent ‘realist’ Romanian films. Jude has fashioned an amusing study of the laborious filmmaking process. The director of the commercial is in conflict with the marketing team, and endless takes are required for even the most straightforward of shots. And assisted by the cast’s naturalistic performances, this economical film also sympathetically examines the generational tensions within a family struggling to prosper in a consumer-driven society.