Fragments of Gabi / director's statement
I tried to tell a story with a minimum of explanation and expose, and I wanted to create suggestion, both temporal and spatial. Structure-wise, I aimed to work with a linear narrative continuity and chronology that does not insure resolution because of a fragmented nature, echoing our fragmented reality.
I wanted to reach a certain minimalism and simplicity in the narrative. As a result the narrative is very thin and becomes some kind of looking box. It pushes you to look.
With Gabi’s constant oscillation I tried to create an interesting relationship between her internal and exterior life. She is outwardly static and seems to be passive and airy, but she is inwardly charged with a certain energy that moves her actions forward. She is always at the border - not too strong to take full action, not too weak to do nothing. At the same time I wanted to respect her privacy and her choices. Not judging her, maybe not even understanding her, simply following her softly like a breeze, respecting the mystery of one's life. I wanted to maintain this sensation of discretion and delicacy.
I allowed Gabi, as a character, to vibrate with a physical presence of Bucharest - the streets, the buildings, the subway station, the buses. Yet, at the same time I aimed to juxtapose those (public) spaces with a personal and singular time sense that relates to who I am as a filmmaker and as a foreigner in Romania. I wanted to give time and duration a visible, real form. I decided to work with long takes in order to capture this sense of time in a genuine way. The interesting thing of those essay-like sequence shots (or vignettes, blocks, units, fragments...) is that they adopt the concept of montage, but instead of using traditional editing, they combine together various elements in one scene, which, through the panning of the camera and the off-screen space, stimulate the imagination and participation of the spectator. I wanted to show the fragments within a totality. It is equally important to mention that through the (extended) long takes it is possible to preserve both unity of space and unity of time. The film does not acquire an artificial pace in postproduction.
By using seemingly random ellipses, the film follows Gabi for nearly two days. Those glimpses resonate in the spectator and raise many questions, even moral dilemmas, but hardly provide ready-made answers. And neither does life. I wanted to suggest that there is no comprehensive viewpoint, no god’s-eye view. There is a restriction of perspective. Thirty-six hours in the life of an individual cannot be clear. Even if I shot it all, there would still be question marks, because of our fragmentary reality. I did not simply have an idea or story to tell. I believe it is like building a bridge, and the spectator is building a bridge from the other side and we meet in the middle somehow. The spectator, trying to fill the gaps with meaning, takes a position, forms his own story and comes to the conclusions that he likes.
Fragments of Gabi consists of a series of essay-like fragments, portraying a Romanian mother, her constant oscillation and a silent revolution.