Adrian Sitaru’s The Fixer (Fixeur) is a potent journalist procedural set in Romania and detailing the struggle to obtain an interview with young local girl who was forced into prostitution in Paris. After being arrested in Paris with her John, 14-year old Anca (Diana Spatarescu) is extradited back to her hometown. Radu (Tudor Istodor), an intern at a local newspaper, relays the potential scoop to a journalist in Paris in an effort to expand his network. He will work as a fixer, a local guide and translator for the foreign correspondent. Together, they must find Anca and convince her to tell her story to the world.
The plotting of the film is incredibly crisp and keeps the viewer’s attention throughout. In his capacity as fixer, you often feel Radu’s frustration as his local connections fall through or he gets stonewalled by some authority figure. At the same time, his triumphs are quite stirring. However, his arc is not merely professional, as he has must balance his relationship with both girlfriend and his son, Matei. When it comes to latter, Radu struggles in this regard. His heavy-handedness with the child constantly threatens to poison their interactions.
One of the most impressive accomplishments of the film is in its deft use of the language barrier and subtitles. Radu serves as the translator for the investigative crew, as he speaks both French and Romanian. Oftentimes, this results in increased delays and frustrations, as communication has to slow for Radu to make the requisite translations. This really helps immerse the viewer in the experience, and generates the most powerful moment of the film which would have been meaningless were it not for the presumptive language barrier.
Ultimately, though Radu successfully navigates his responsibilities as a Fixer, his true arc involves more personal improvements. Through his journey uncovering Anca’s story, he learns a great deal about himself and his own actions. So, although the closing sequence of the movie has nothing to do with his journalistic aspirations, they nonetheless indicate that Radu has recognized and improved upon his previous failings.
Sunday, September 11, 1:45 PM, Scotiabank
Saturday, September 17, 6:00 PM, Scotiabank
Tickets can be purchased online at tiff.net