Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The New Wave of Romanian Cinema

Last year I emailed Romanian writer Bogdan Suceava about the film 12:08 East of Bucharest (directed by Corneliu Porumboiu), which my wife and I saw at the Detroit Film Theatre. He responded by generously sending me several DVDs to continue my education in what has been called the "new wave" of Romanian cinema.

Over the next few weeks we made our way through Sick Connections, The Paper Will be Blue (directed by Radu Muntean), and How I Spent the End of the World (directed by Catalin Mitulescu). The latter film was presented at the festival we did at Oakland University last month and is my favorite of these three films.

While in New York at AWP I snuck out for a bit to see 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days (directed by Cristian Mungiu), a powerful film about a student seeking an illegal abortion in 1980s Romania. This film is now available on DVD and at the Borders web site you can view an interview with the film's cinematographer Oleg Mutu.

The Romanian new wave has received a lot of press recently: the New York Times writes of the "New Wave on the Black Sea," Variety notes that "Romanian Cinema is on the Rise," the Los Angeles Times interviews director Cristian Mungiu, the Christian Science Monitor describes the "new force in world cinema," and Sight & Sound considers the "Eastern Promise."

I still haven't seen The Death of Mr. Lazarescu but intend to remedy that soon. If you're unfamiliar with these films I recommend adding one or two to your Netflix list.

Thanks again to Bogdan for introducing me to these fantastic films.

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