Tag Archives: Romanian New Wave movies

“Graduation” graduates with Best Director award at Cannes

“Romania’s Cristian Mungiu and France’s Olivier Assayas (in picture) share best director prize at Cannes for this 69th edition. Mungiu, who won the Palme d’Or in 2007, was rewarded for his critically-acclaimed ‘Baccalaureat / Graduation’. (…) Other Romanian movies and co-productions were awarded during this festival”. 

More details here:


A longer review (spoiler alert!), here: http://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/may/19/graduation-review-cristian-mungiu-romania-cannes-2016



George Pistereanu, best actor at the Stockholm film festival

BERLIN - FEBRUARY 13: Actor George Pistereanu attends the 'Eu Cand Vreau Sa Fluier, Fluier' (If I Want Tho Whistle, I Whistle) Photocall during day three of the 60th Berlin International Film Festival at the Grand Hyatt Hotel on February 13, 2010 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images) “He convinced us that his dilemma was real. Forcing us to sympathize with his desperate actions. His performance left us breathless.”

These words accompany the announcement that the young protagonist of the movie “If I want to whistle, I whistle” won the “best actor” prize at the Stockholm film festival 2010. Winners list here.

We talked about “whistle whistle” here.

Trailer below:

Romanians shine at the Gijón film festival

Photo: TrailerThe “Principality of Asturia” prize for the best film at the 2010 Gijón film festival goes to “Tuesday after Christmas”, by Radu Muntean.

Best actor – Mimi Brănescu, same movie

Best actress – Mirela Oprişor and Maria Popistaşu, ex aequo, same movie

Prize for the best art direction – Vali Ighigheanu and Andreea Popa, for “Aurora”, a movie by Cristi Puiu

Special mention for short movies – Victor Dragomir for “Fotografia”

All results of the festival, here. (Spanish)

We had mentioned “Tuesday after Christmas” already here. Trailer below, Read more of this post

Tales from the Golden Era – pick it while it’s fresh

A rare 100% fresh rating on rottentomatoes.com – I don’t remember seeing something alike, and that after 17 reviews.

“Amintiri din Epoca de Aur” actually literally tanslates “Memories from the Golden Era”, but I guess “tales” fits well too, as the movie consists of several short stories based on “urban legends” from the Communist time.

“Taking a wry and sly approach to skewering the oppressive system under which they all grew up, it exposes in amusing fashion the fear and absurdities the proletariat of late-1980s Romania had to deal with daily. Though not nearly as bleak as Mungiu’s previous film, the ironic, comedic tone used to depict these assorted urban legends always has a grim punchline to remind us that life under Ceausescu was no laughing matter.” Full review here.

“The dark laughter involved is Romania’s way of staying sane, not merely at the time but, also, in a way, right now. Comedy is a way of looking back at the horror without the rage and despair becoming unendurable.” Full review here.

An overview of all reviews, including the one quoted above, here.

The trailer, below:

Enjoy. (e.g., on Netflix here)

Romanians can’t make a bad film

“Romanians can’t make a bad film. It’s, like, illegal in their country. Or at least not in their DNA.

Over the last four years, filmmakers from the small Eastern European nation have swept into the south of France every May and put far bigger, more storied film cultures to shame, the U.S. and the fiercely proud host country among them. It started primarily with the critics’ favorite “The Death of Mr. Lazarescu” in 2006, continued the following year with the powerful abortion drama “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days” (which won the Palme d’Or) and hasn’t abated since, with last year’s “Police, Adjective” and “Tales from the Golden Age” worthy entries in the so-called Romanian New Wave.

This year the streak continues — and perhaps gets even stronger — with “Tuesday, After Christmas,” an infidelity drama from a director named Radu Muntean who’s been here several times before. We caught his new movie, in the festival’s Un Certain Regard section, at its Thursday press screening and were close to blown away. Muntean’s movie is a remarkable, pitch-perfect work, as convincing and affecting a portrayal of the subtleties of modern life and marriage as you’ll find on the screen.”

Wasn’t me who said it, it was L.A. Times. The whole article: here.

Not all winners take it all

“If you don’t win a prize, no one looks at you”, said Florin Serban in an interview shortly after his return from the 2010 Berlin film festival, where he won the Silver Bear, the Grand Jury Prize and the Alfred Bauer Prize for cinematographic innovation.


Even if you win a prize, but it is not the big one, no one looks at you. The entire media has all its cannons on Florin Serban, obviously for good reasons. Unfortunately, media seems to have no cannons left for Adrian Sitaru, another Romanian director who won a prize at the Berlinale – the DAAD (German Cultural Exchange Institute) prize for short film. Heck, even I forgot to mention him in the previous article about Florin Serban!


The movie is called “Colivia”, “The Birdcage”, and the jury said the following:

“A perfectly paced miniature, a chamber piece inside a Romanian tower block. Funny, heartfelt, with a wonderful rhythm. The director needs only 17 minutes to portray the three characters involved.”

Here’s a scene:

Unlike Florin Serban, Adrian Sitaru is Read more of this post

The Silver Bear. Not in Braşov, at the Berlinale.

BERLIN - FEBRUARY 20: Director Florin Serban (C) holds his Silver Bear Jury Grand Prix Award with actress Ada Condeescu and actor George Pistereanu at the 'Award Winners' Photocall during day ten of the 60th Berlin International Film Festival at the Grand Hyatt Hotel on February 20, 2010 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

Outstanding result for the Romanian cinematography at the prestigious film festival in Berlin. Florin Şerban (not even Romanian cinefils know who he is) won not one prize, but two:

The Silver Bear – The Jury Grand Prix


The Alfred Bauer Prize, “awarded in memory of the Festival founder, for a work of particular innovation”

with the movie “Eu când vreau să fluier, fluier” – “When I want to whistle, I whistle”.


More about Florin Şerban, here (in German). More about the movie, for those who like to read ahead, here (in German too). Still waiting for English language reviews and bio – the guy is completely unknown in the “outer world”, but that is likely to change. Will update when available. Meanwhile, for Romanian speakers or hardcore film fans willing to use google translator, more info in Romanian here.

4 luni, 3 săptămâni şi 2 zile – Review

While the website said that they were showing 4 luni, 3 săptămâni şi 2 zile at Curzon Soho from today, it turns out that they aren’t after all. So I take the short tube ride on the Picadilly line to the Renoir in Russell Square.

The Renoir, I discover, is a decrepit old place and not in an artsy or charming sort of way. I am just over an hour early so I get the bitter £1.50 freetrade coffee and hang around in the empty “lounge” finishing off some “stuff”. When they open the screen 1 hall, there is another surprise – a pillar right in the middle of the hall, meaning the back few rows are practically useless, especially the middle aisle seats.

Patru Luni, my first movie of 2008, more than makes up for all that. It is the story of an extraordinary day in the life of Otilia, a polytechnic student living in a dorm in România of 1987. I have not seen Cristian Mungiu’s previous four movies, and judging by this one, I have missed out on some good cinema.

On one hand the movie is fascinating in that it provides a slight glimpse into what it might have been like to live in Ceauşescu’s România. While I am normally wary of learning about “other cultures” from movies, the “signs of the times” are a relatively safer pick. For instance, having to carry around an ID card everywhere for everything is an explicit sign. More subtly, the lingering undercurrent of fear and treachery is palpable throughout.

The film is even more captivating in Read more of this post