Romania

Radu Muntean – Marti, dupa craciun aka Tuesday, After Christmas (2010)

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“Tuesday, After Christmas” (Marti, dupa craciun, 2010) is the latest film from Romania to hit the film festival circuit and cause a stir. I saw it at this year’s Chicago International Film Festival.

A great many of the films coming from Romania have all been fiercely political. There was “12:08 East of Bucharest” (A Fost sau n-a fost, 2007), “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days” (4 luni, 3 saptamani si 2 zile, 2007), “How I Spent The End of the World” (Cum mi-am petrecut sfarsitul lumii, 2006) and the movie which started this recent “new wave” in Romanian cinema “The Death of Mr. Lazarescu” (Moartea domnului Lazarescu, 2006). But “Tuesday, After Christmas” is much different. There is absolutely no mention of politics or even social injustice. Read More »

Nicolae Margineanu – Padureanca AKA The Forest Woman (1987)

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In Transylvania, in the 19th century, the village birthplace of a rich farmer’s son is undergoing a cholera epidemic when he returns from studying at a university, and bodies are being removed from houses. Once at home, he spies the beautiful daughter of a local forester. However, one of his father’s servants has also seen her, and they become rivals in love. ~ Clarke Fountain, All Movie Guide
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Constantin Popescu – Pororoca (2017)

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One sunny day at the park, five-year-old Maria and her brother Ilie are running around the busy playground. Dad Tudor drinks coffee and chats to the other parents. Everyone is keeping an eye out and yet, suddenly, the unthinkable happens: Maria is gone. Helpers are called in and do their utmost, but that evening Tudor and his wife Cristina are at home, devastated: their daughter has really disappeared.
Director Popescu shows how disruptive grief and pain are by following Tudor for over two hours as the latter attempts to arrive at an answer. Is Cristina’s charming ex-colleague somehow involved? And who is that childless oddball at the park? Watching him disintegrate as blind desperation takes hold is soul-destroying. Popescu records all this with quiet, chilling distance using prize-winning actors and sure-footed camerawork that can be suddenly, intensely close at times. Read More »

Andrei Ujica – The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu AKA Autobiografia lui Nicolae Ceausescu (2010)

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During the summary trial that he and his wife were submitted to, Nicolae Ceausescu is reviewing his long reign in power: 1965-1989. It is an historical tableau that in its scope resembles American film frescos such as those dedicated to the Vietnam War.
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Cristian Mungiu – 4 luni, 3 saptamâni si 2 zile AKA 4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days (2007)

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Even with Cannes hype generating high expectations, Cristian Mungiu’s drama set during Romania’s communist regime is startlingly good viewing. 4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days (4 Luni, 3 Saptamani Si 2 Zile) takes place over one day in 1987 when Otilia (Marinca) helps her university roommate Gabita (Vasiliu) seek an illegal abortion. Risking prison under Ceausescu’s dictatorship, Gabita seems to be falling apart, so it’s up to Otilia to facilitate the doctor and hotel room – but quite how far she’s willing to go to help her friend is yet to be tested. Read More »

Dan Pita – Femeia visurilor AKA Dream Woman (2005)

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This full feature movie presents the story of a renowned director, Thomas (Dan Condurache), at the peak of his career, obsessed by the hallucinations of the desired woman, but also of his creative problems. Although his movies are awarded, and he is loved by the public, by actors and friends, Thomas is tormented by the desire to direct the movie of his life. Read More »

Corneliu Porumboiu – A fost sau n-a fost? AKA 12-08 East of Bucharest (2006)

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It’s the 22nd of December. Sixteen years have passed since the revolution, and in a small town Christmas is about to come. Piscoci, an old retired man is preparing for another Christmas alone. Manescu, the history teacher, tries to keep up with his debts. Jderescu, the owner of a local television post, seems not to be so interested in the upcoming holidays. For him, the time to face history has come. Along with Manescu and Piscoci, he is trying to answer for himself a question which for 16 years has not had an answer: “Was it or wasn’t it a revolution in their town?” Read More »