Romanian Cinema

Disintegration in Frames by Pavle Levi

Pavle Levi’s insightful and well-argued book, Disintegration in Frames: Aesthetics and Ideology in the Yugoslav and Post-Yugoslav Cinema examines the evolution of the national Yugoslav and regional post-Yugoslav cinema within its shifting political and cultural landscape – initially, in the context of individual expression under the repressive government of Josip Broz Tito, then subsequently, as… read more »

Don’t Lean Out the Window, 1994

A thematic structure that continues to surface in several of the post 1989 Revolution films during the Shining Through a Long, Dark Night: Romanian Cinema, Then and Now series is the use of an intertwining, circular narrative as a metaphor for national self-reflection – and re-evaluation – in the aftermath of the Nicolae Ceauşescu regime… read more »

The Paper Will Be Blue, 2006

A droll and acerbic fictional corollary to Harun Farocki and Andrei Ujica’s Videograms of a Revolution, Radu Muntean’s The Paper Will Be Blue, like Cristi Puiu’s The Death of Mr. Lazarescu and Cristian Mungiu’s 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days is an odyssey through the crumbling institutions and broken social systems of a country… read more »

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, 2007

Coincidentally, like Carlos Reygadas’s Silent Light, Cristian Mungiu’s 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days is a film that is also characterized by the element of subverted expectation, but this time, to indelible and bracing effect. Set in Romania during the waning days of Soviet bloc communism under Nikolai Ceaucescu in the late 1980s where… read more »

Occident, 2002

Something of a cross between Julie Bertucelli’s Since Otar Left and Bohdan Slama’s Something Like Happiness in its wry and affectionate portrait of Eastern European diaspora after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Cristian Mungiu’s refined and ingeniously constructed first feature film, Occident also evokes the spirit of Krzysztof Kieslowski in its bittersweet, delicately interconnected… read more »

Maria, 2003

Channeling the spirit of Italian neorealism in its bleak and unrelenting portrait of abject poverty, Peter Calin Netzer’s Maria is a provocative and articulate social interrogation on the role of globalization, international charity, and the media on the socioeconomic polarization of the working class. Based on a true story (an sad truth that is reinforced… read more »

Orienteering (Concurs), 1982

Set in a company-sponsored orienteering contest – a false peril, team-building competition that pits administrative departments against each other in navigating their way out of a vast, public recreational park in the least amount of time by locating a prescribed series of trail markers using only the provisions and equipment provided to them at the… read more »

Police, Adjective, 2009

The disjunction between moral and bureaucratic law, meaning and intent shapes the discourse of Corneliu Porumboiu’s meticulously observed, if clinical and muted procedural film, Police, Adjective. Assigned to conduct surveillance on a typical, middle-class teenager named Alex (Alexandru Sabadac) who is suspected of dealing drugs, junior detective and newlywed, Cristi (Dragos Bucur) spends his days… read more »

The Death of Mr. Lazarescu, 2005

Something of a hybrid between the sardonic humor of a talkative Otar Iosseliani or Béla Tarr and the vérité-like, social realism of Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, Cristi Puiu’s The Death of Mr. Lazarescu is a thoughtful and incisive slice-of-life comedy on the impersonalization (and desensitization) of institutional health care. Exploring similar issues of entrenched bureaucracy… read more »

The Return of the Banished, 1979

Recalling Sergei Eisenstein’s Ivan the Terrible in its atmospheric, if tempered historical epic on the bloody reign of sixteenth century Moldavian despot, Alexandru Lapusneanu, Malvina Ursianu’s Return of the Banished is a trenchant allegory on the moral corruption and madness of absolute power. Unfolding though a series of flashbacks and flash forwards, the film opens… read more »