Sonic Fictions

The Magic Citadel (1945)

Photo credits: The National Film Archive

soundless film*, fantasy film, digitized for the first time, runtime: 75 minutes
music: Abator Industries

Director, scenography and screenplay: Marin Iorda
Cinematography: Eftimie Vasilescu
Actors: Tony Zaharian, Samy Wassman
Producer: Constantin Bondoc

*film made after the appearance of sound in the Romanian cinematography, but abandoned on the verge of sound editing due to a financial conflict between the producer and the cinematographer

What else is The Magic Citadel good for? Commenced, abandoned for financial reasons, made and not born, the film by writer, newsman, animator, at last, by director Marin Iorda (Haplea, – 1927; Such Is Life, – 1930) survives for more than sixty years in a tangled working copy. What ought to have been the project for a new breath of life, launched into just a few months after the end of the Second World War, concluded as another of the director’s feature film efforts, itself interrupted by the war – Fires under the Snow (1941). It is not our first time betting on unfinished films; a few months ago, within Short Sounds, we presented a fabulous urban symphony by the name of Bucharest Hours, started in ’42 by the Pole Witold Klimowicz. But the previous endeavor was more easily justifiable – as it was preserved, Hours… is both a treasure chest overflowing with vistas from all across a chic Bucharest, prior to its shelling, and a shooting journal. The Magic Citadel, on the other hand, is no more and no less than a succession of fanciful shots, a camp ode to theatre props; it’s up to each of us to discern how much or how little this amounts to. Some, myself included, see the invaluable chance to witness a thing so alien to whatever else has remained of the history of pre-Soviet Romanian film – fervent buffoonery over painted backdrops and under wigs, starring bearded emperors, supple princesses and Pasolinian boys. (Călin Boto)

Abator Industries (Dan Michiu, Andreea Tincea, Cătălin Lungu, Daniel Iliescu) is an independent musical collective, from Bucharest, directed in the area of ​​free improvisation. Abator Industries has created several musical projects, with different dominances: Loungerie II – loungerious punk punk; Tunesinnaourheads – dub funk indie rock dancehall party; Uălvărin vs. Seibărtut – noise experiment; The Shape of Moombhaton – spoken word dub literature & electronic sound. The group, which sends through its sound approaches to contemporary music, ambient, psychedelic sounds and various experimental trends, participated in a wide range of performative experiences, both in independent concerts (Art Labyrinth, MD, 2016; presence at NISI Massa , project within BIEFF 2014; SoundCzech Festival, 2014 etc.), as well as screenings of silent films accompanied by live music: Man with a movie camera (TIFF Oradea, 2020; Alba Iulia Music Film festival, 2018); Metropolis (CitiZenit, Fabrica Teba, 2016); Nosferatu (Strarad Street Festival, 2016) etc. The team also released two limited edition CD-Rs, “Orellana Highjacked” (2012) and “Way of the Head” (2014).

As a consequence of the contractual requirements imposed by the Romanian Film Center we separated the video and the audio sources. The developed automatic system synchronizing the applications used may cause small delays due to your internet provider and devices (desktop, phone, etc.).
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