Radu Jude is an atypical, stubborn, irreverent artist, a convinced practitioner of self-irony, who does not care about the ”mouth of the world,” marketing strategies or festival success (many filmmakers would say they don’t care about it – the difference is that Jude does everything possible not to look for the expectations of international appreciation). Occasionally, Radu Jude makes theater (two of his three shows so far have movies as starting points), but that’s not the reason why he is, in 2017, the associate artist of the Temps d’Images Festival.
Two major concerns mark Jude’s art – whether it’s about movies, from Aferim to the Dead Nation and his latest production, now in work, or about theater –: the relationship with the history and the functions (or limits) of the image. The image (photography, footage) is essentially partial, accidentally, or by assumed selection. The picture is, after all, ideology, the way in which reality is segmented and recomposed so as to respond to a certain vision of the world.
Questioning the image – the visual discourse – is a form of interrogation of the way in which we relate to the present and past, of the strategies by which we edit history, leaving out the defeats, the shameful acts, the crimes and their victims.
Radu Jude’s preoccupation with archives and found footage (found images, disconnected from their original context of creation, not specifically realized to be used as part of the audiovisual works in which they are included or which are themselves re-contextualized) is, in the end, a dive into the dynamics of historical discourse.
Which is not just one of the image – art in general, including performing arts, is, in turn, a scissors perfected in the editing of the present and the past, in the selective granting of the right to (self-) representation. Radu Jude’s preoccupation with the limits of image and visual representation provides a framework for the rethinking of the current local context – the trend towards the rehabilitation of inter-war anti-Semitism, the denial of fascist crimes, especially against the Roma community, the hatred of the poor –, with more and more different artistic tools.