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New Romanian Cinema between Exoticism and State Subventions
© Marian Tutui
First Publication: Altcine 11-02-2013 - revised edition
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Underestimated Past and Overrated Present? 
As incredible as it may seem today, in the 1980s Romanian cinema was held in some kind of disrepute although between 1939 and 1989 it had received nine awards at the major festivals of Cannes, Venice and Berlin. French film historians like Georges Sadoul and Roger Boussinot dedicated only a page each in their major books to Romanian cinema, while Anglo-Saxon writers like Ephraim Katz and Gerald Mast ignored it in their film encyclopaedias and David Parkinson considered it a topic worthy only of a few lines for the period after 1970. Moreover, some fiction films allude ironically to Romanian cinema. In Arthur Hiller’s Author! Author! (1982) a playwright embodied by Al Pacino warns his children: ‘If you don’t enjoy this goddamn Romanian movie tonight […] you aren’t getting a penny from me for the rest of your life.’ In My Sweet Little Village (1985), an Oscar-nominated comedy by Jirí Menzel, two adulterous lovers in a Czech village buy tickets for a Romanian film not only for the weak-minded boy in whose house they meet, to get him out of the way, but also five tickets extra in order to be sure that a Romanian film will not be cancelled again.

After the fall of communism older film-makers like Dan Piţa and Lucian Pintilie received two more awards in Venice, in 1992 and 1998 respectively. A new generation, which had its debut in 2001, succeeded in winning no less than twelve awards in Cannes, Venice and Berlin between 2004 and 2010. In recent years all festivals have been eager to include Romanian cinema, especially films made by young Romanian directors belonging to the so-called ‘Romanian New Wave’.

Two prestigious critics have expressed, at first glance, divergent views on this new wave. In 2007 Variety’s Derek Elley feared that ‘it’s easy to assume, from fests’ picks, that (currently “hot”) Romanian cinema is all grungy, DV-shot, miserabilist dramas’ while three years later Steven Zeitchik in Los Angeles Times expressed the opinion that "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 US and the fiercely proud host country among them." (Zeitchik 2010)

It is almost a miracle that after a decade an American critic becomes a fan of the ‘so-called Romanian New Wave’ because he notices that ‘the streak’ of ‘authentic storytelling’ continues (Zeitchik 2010).

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days by Cristian Mungiu. Palme D`Or 2007

On the 30th of May 2012, three days after two more awards in Cannes for Romanian cinema, Romanians afford to be self-critical. “Catavencii”[1] hosted together with a half serious comments of Cristian Mungiu’s second success in Cannes[2],a second article[3] which although hilarious is able to sketch the features of a Romanian New Wave film:

“A recording of a camera mounted above an ATM was mistakenly awarded in Cannes, after the jury has confused it with a Romanian film about a family drama that draws money from the card. The recording, which lasts more than three hours, also received praise from critics. The Guardian praises its long takes, which transmit the sensation of oppressive time, while Hollywood Reporter appreciates the quality of the script that captures perfectly the daily routine when nothing happens. "In the first forty minutes there is no character” writes American site. "We see only a dog passing through before the camera, but we do not see his owner. Is it a dog without an owner? It must have one; who has ever seen a dog without an owner on the streets of a town?”
"The main character of the movie, a man who withdraws money from the ATM is not played by a professional actor, presumably to give more authenticity to the scenes", expresses his opinion A.O.Scott from New York Times.
Despite these considerations, the Romanian movie was not on the taste of the audience. Very few people have survived until the end, especially as many have figured out how it ends. (Spoiler alert!) The film ends somehow cyclically, with about fifty minutes when nobody passes in front of the camera.”

Bad News Is Better than No News

During the ΄90s Romanians and their country became source of the most thrilling but also embarrassing news in the world press. Such a thing is proved by a scene in Michael Haneke’s 71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance/ 71 Fragmente einer Chronologie des Zufalls (1994, Austria- Germany) where the Romanian reality competes with the hot news. Somewhere in Vienna a Romanian child feeds himself in the garbage while the television news shows several times violence in Bosnia, Somalia and Ireland.

First the press turned Ceausescu from a mediocre dictator into a second Dracula so that Romanians sometimes gave up to a minimum national pride but even began to boast that he had suffered the greatest misfortunes.

Then a much stronger but also eager for the sensational press which they have not been used to found out things that most Romanians did not know about. It was about the children living in the sewerage of Bucharest or about the Gypsies who ate the Schonnbrun swans. The first story proved true but the second was actually a quite plausible legend. At the beginning Romanians were shocked, denied and felt offended by the West. But one night a private television channel presented Gigi, Monica... et Bianca (1997, Belgium, d. Jean- Pierre Dardenne and Benoît Dervant), who presents in ciné-vérité style the incredible story of a pair of youngsters who live in the drains of Bucharest, around Northern Railway Station, have an infant but do not lose their hope into having a home some time.

Children in Romanian orphanages and especially the disabled ones provided hard images on Romania for Western viewers. For several years the authorities could only blame Ceausescu’s policy of forced birth growth that led to many unwanted children but finally they were able to improve the situation.

Romanians eventually got used to not enjoy a very favorable reputation. Eventually, it proved that bad news is better than no news. Romania became a EU member country and Western audiences became accustomed to this country and its inhabitants. Slowly, one could find out more favorable news about Romania. For instance, in Joanne K. Rowling’s novels “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” (1997) and “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” (1998) one can read that Ron Weasley’s parents spent their holidays in Romania where are the largest dragon reserves, respectively find out about porphyry, a disease that Vlad the Impeller suffered from, which inspired Bram Stoker’s fiction.

As a conclusion I tend to give an explanation to the success of Romanian cinema after 2000 not only as a result of the aesthetic value of the new films as a lot of the older ones had such a value but they have been ignored abroad in a much bigger extent. I think such a success is also a result of Romania’s entering the Western consciousness even through bad news, even through a kind of exoticism. Exoticism actually involves a major culture accepting assets of a minor culture. However, due to a complex of superiority the acceptance will involve labeling the foreign asset as “strange”, “odd”, “troubling” or at least “exotic”. Small cultures are condemned to exoticism in order to raise the attention of the audience of the West. Therefore sometimes the Balkan conflicts or the difficult transition of the Eastern European countries proved to be an advantage in terms of source of inspiration for the Eastern European filmmakers. Some, like Cristi Puiu already protested against a certain discrimination because as the critics and audience consider them fit for making films about the East but unsuitable to understand the West and tackle broader issues. 

The Romanian New Wave and Its Features 

If we analyse them in detail these diagnoses made by English-speaking critics are not divergent but both accurate. Derek Elley has been expressing in Variety his preference for an unusual Romanian film of the last decades, Restul e tăcere/ The Rest is Silence (2007), a sort of historical comedy directed by Nae Caranfil. This director was born in 1960 and does not properly belong to the Romanian New Wave. The Rest is Silence, which chronicles the birth of the first Romanian fiction film, is the most expensive Romanian film of the last decades, with a budget of 2.4 million euros (Gheorghe 2010), a quite unusual figure compared to the average cost of the recent Romanian productions that have attracted the world’s attention. Unlike this lavish reconstruction of an epoch the typical Romanian New Wave film is a contemporary drama with an average budget of 500,000 euros. Florin Şerban’s success at the Berlinale (Jury Grand Prix and Silver Bear) last year, Eu când vreau să fluier, fluier/ If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle (2010) (a Romanian-Swedish-German co-production) had a budget of 900,000 euros out of which 250,000 euros came from the Romanian film fund. Other successful films made by young Romanian directors also had modest budgets: Cristian Mungiu’s 4 luni, 3 săptămâni şi 2 zile/ 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2007) cost 600,000 euros, while Cristian Nemescu’s California Dreamin’ (2007) cost 1 million euros. Corneliu Porumboiu’s budgets for his films awarded in Cannes evolved from 200,000 euros for A fost sau n-a fost?/ 12:08 East of Bucharest (2006) to 800,000 euros for Poliţist, adjectiv/ Police, Adjective (2009). To have a more comprehensive picture we could add the most recent film by Cristi Puiu, Aurora (2010, Romania-France-Switzerland-Germany) with a budget of 1.4 million euros and Alexandru Solomon’s feature documentary Kapitalism: Reţeta noastră secretă/ Kapitalism: Our Improved Formula (2010, Romania-France-Belgium) with a budget of 400,000 euros.

Aurora by Cristi Puiu

With these contemporary dramas made on modest budgets, are we dealing with an adaptation of content to the financial means or the reverse? The film-makers included in the Romanian New Wave have never produced a manifesto and have always considered themselves as individuals whose tastes and aspirations are similar. As Cristian Mungiu puts it:

"The approaches are too different and there is no programme. However, there is a group of youngsters who have been able to make another kind of films, more modern, nearer to the rhythm of contemporary life, closer to the audience and experienced as more vivid. But I do not know how many people wish this change! […] I hope that the young will have in the beginning the wisdom to understand that first of all they do not compete with each other but they have a common goal to offer an alternative, to replace a mentality, a style of thinking and a way to create. Later on, rivalries will become unavoidable but it would be wonderful if the solidarity functions at least in the beginning." (Quoted in Chivu 2003)

We can therefore conclude that their common aesthetics can be a result of some economic constraints. Shooting the present surroundings is obviously cheaper than reconstructing the past or sending a crew to some distant location. Beginning with 2006 some directors like Corneliu Porumboiu (12:08 East of Bucharest), Cătălin Mitulescu (Cum mi-am petrecut sfârşitul lumii/ The Way I Spent the End of the World), Radu Muntean (Hârtia va fi albastră/ The Paper Will Be Blue), Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) and Titus Muntean (Caravana cinematografică/ Kino Caravan) approached also the Communist past or the revolution as topics of their films. These are not historical films but rather dramas as they deal with the near past and personal experiences, nor are they epics as the 1989 revolution was for them tragic rather than heroic. 

Moreover, the Eastern film-makers have noticed that their societies in transition are hard to live in but spectacular to render, their contrasts stylistically turned into antithesis and oxymoron while the absurdities and malfunctions of the system sometimes become sources of irony and black humour. Their films impressed the juries and won the sympathy of the western audience. We can daresay that such a wave of sympathy was brought by a wind of change. The opening of the western European borders for the easterners, Europe’s turn towards the East by the accession of several ex-Communist countries to the European Union and the globalization brought also another change described by Dina Iordanova:
"The discourse on place is no longer a prerogative of the ‘center’ reflecting on its ‘margins’. What formerly was deemed a ‘periphery’ is endowed with new vitality that challenges the traditional narratives of locale and movement and replaces them with new takes on place and itinerary." (Iordanova 2001)

Cristi Puiu rejected the advantage of a certain exoticism and to be labelled as an eastern European film-maker. He even expressed his preference for an anti- commercial cinema:
"This is the commercial recipe: after a week of labour you go to the movies, watch Steven Seagal saving the world and return home serene. What about when he does not save it; now you’ve got a problem! Commercial cinema cannot solve your own drama." (Quoted in Mihăilescu 2008)

Two years later he added: 
"There are several films which bother me and I think they show things wrong and impose rather noxious perspectives. Therefore the kind of film that I make becomes rather an answer, a proposal." (quoted in Iftimie 2010).
In terms of aesthetics, unlike other films made in the Balkans the ones of the Romanian New Wave are united more by a realist, almost documentary, austere and minimalist style than by black humour. Realism has always implied certain accessibility towards the masses while post-modernism counts on a recovery of hitherto despised vulgar genres and ultimately on a democratic return to the popular. The Romanian New Wave is an anti-aestheticism movement aspiring to banality as a measure of veracity therefore its realism does not attract the general public.

The Death of Mr. Lazarescu by Cristi Puiu

Traditions, Laws, Institutions and Crafts 

After the fall of Communism the seven old studios (including a studio specializing in documentaries, another one in animation and a third one belonging to the army) decayed and finally gave up their last breath. A new system was needed and by copying the French CNC (Centre national du cinéma et de l’image animée) in 1990 the Romanian National Centre of Cinema was born and a film fund was established. It took almost a decade for the Romanian CNC to become really functional. In the late 1990s, with shrinking governmental participation in film production and the local currency continuously depreciating, it was almost impossible to make a full-length feature in Romania. The apex of this crisis came in 2000 when no Romanian feature film was produced. Finally it was understood that the French system of financing had to be adapted to Romanian circumstances. In 2003, when the CNC grant began to cover 50 per cent of the budget and even more for debutants, several films were completed. On the other hand the local currency became stable and the film fund did not have to depend anymore on the government (with the exception of a small sum in 2006), but began to be fuelled by fees on television advertising, the home video market, etc.

The national film fund has thus stabilized. It amounted to approximately 10.5 million euros in 2008, though, under the effect of the economic crisis, it shrank to 7.7 million euros in 2010. The number of feature-film productions during the last eight years has evolved from 18 in 2003, to 21 in 2004, 20 in 2005, 18 in 2006, 12 in 2007, 9 in 2008 and again up to 18 in 2009 and 19 in 2010.[4]
The average during this period of revival was 17 films a year. This can be compared to the 25 films made during the final year of Communism.[5]
Maybe it is not a coincidence that it was in 2001 that the first film announcing the Romanian New Wave was released, Marfa şi banii/ Stuff and Dough, directed by Cristi Puiu, while in 2004 Trafic/ Traffic by Cătălin Mitulescu received the Golden Palm in Cannes for best short film. Another dramatic moment was in 2003 when a group of young directors, amongst them Cristian Mungiu and Cristi Puiu, wrote a protest letter to CNC in which they signalled that some jurors had their own film projects applying for money and also voted for them to be funded. Obviously, the system of selection was changed. Yet even today this system, envied by other ex-Communist countries, still has flaws. For instance, a successful director will be advantaged even when applying as a producer or if he submits a film to a category of films he has never worked with before. On the other hand, taking into account the festival and other awards received in the last ten years the young film-makers got their revenge on the old generation.

It was also a time when one could feel a great need for new producers and scriptwriters, as well as for new faces on screen, i.e. new actors. Some of the most active scriptwriters died (Eugen Barbu in 1993 and Titus Popovici in 1994) and it took some time for the newcomers to make their way forward. In 2001 and subsequent years scriptwriters like Tudor Voican, Răzvan Rădulescu (he presently also directs), Andreea Vălean and Alexandru Baciu appeared. First of all they had to prove that the street language was suitable for cinema and that they could find in ordinary reality stories that could be turned into good films. Director Cristi Puiu and scriptwriter Răzvan Rădulescu were the first to bring this off with Stuff and Dough. Director of photography Silviu Stavilă was probably the first to use long takes and a portable camera in Stuff and Dough but Oleg Mutu did it both for Cristi Puiu in Moartea domnului Lăzărescu/ The Death of Mr Lăzărescu and for Cristian Mungiu in 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days. We should also add Liviu Marghidan (California Dreamin’, Povestiri din Epoca de Aur/ Tales from the Golden Age and Medalia de onoare/ Medal of Honor) and especially Marius Panduru who proved he can handle both minimalism (The Way I Spent the End of the World; 12:08 East of Bucharest; Police, Adjective; If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle) and lavish epoch reconstruction such as in The Rest is Silence.

The new kind of cinema needed, of course, new actors. After 1989 two Romanian actors were able to become international stars even before the ascension of national film production: Maïa Morgenstern (b. 1962), an actress cast by famous directors such as Theodoros Angelopoulos, Márta Mészáros and Mel Gibson; and Marcel Iureş (b. 1951) who played in Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles; Mission: Impossible; The Peacemaker; Amen etc. The most prominent actors of the New Wave are Dorotheea Petre, Anamaria Marinca, Andi Vasluianu, Dragoş Bucur, Mimi Brănescu, Vlad Ivanov, Ozana Oancea, Bogdan Dumitrache, George Piştereanu, Clara Vodă, Maria Popistaşu, Ana Ularu and Maria Dinulescu. Among them Dorotheea Petre (b. 1981) and Anamaria Marinca (b. 1978) already received important awards for their acting: a prize in 2006 in the section ‘Un certain regard’ in Cannes for The Way I Spent the End of the World (Petre) and a BAFTA in 2004 for her role in David Yates’s Sex Traffic (Marinca). Most recently other two young actresses Cosmina Stratan (1984) and Cristina Flutur (1978) were distinguished with the award for best actress ex aequo at the 2012 edition of Cannes Film Festival for their roles in Dincolo de dealuri/ Beyond the Hills (directed by Cristian Mungiu, on his turn rewarded with an award for Best Screenplay).  

Cristina Flutur and Cosmina Stratan, Beyond The Hills by Cristian Mungiu

The above directors, directors of photography and actors are all graduates of UNATC (National University of Theatrical Art and Cinema ‘Ion Luca Caragiale’) with the exception of directors Cristi Puiu, who studied in Geneva, Ruxandra Zenide, a graduate of FAMU in Prague and of actress Cristina Flutur who studied acting in Cluj. However, Cristian Mungiu does not recognize UNATC or Romanian film tradition as important: "I do not think there is a Romanian film school, unless you mean that I graduated from the film school in Romania. [...] If you shake Romanian cinema a little, only a few titles and pieces of films remain" (Mironică 2004).

Forming producers took longer. Finally, the system encouraged some directors to become producers themselves (Corneliu Porumboiu and Cristian Mungiu) while other directors granted that trust to their wives (Cristi Puiu, Alexandru Solomon and Tudor Giurgiu) or brothers (Cătălin Mitulescu). Even forming directors specialized in documentaries took some time. Alexandru Solomon was originally a director of photography, while Florin Iepan comes from television.

Audience and Absence of Genres 

With 89,000 tickets sold, 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days tops the list of new Romanian feature films released between 2006 and 2010 by number of admissions. It is followed by If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle with 51,000 admissions and Tales from the Golden Age I with 28,000 admissions. We have to add that an important percentage of spectators of 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days saw the film during special screenings by means of a ‘kino caravan’ visiting Romanian towns that no longer have a cinema theatre. On the other hand, Slumdog Millionaire, the most successful European film in Romania in 2009, had no more than 41,000 admissions. Even after Romania’s admission into the European Union, American cinema continued to rule the Romanian film market, which it had conquered in 1990. During the last five years there has been about 200 American films released a year (50% of the entire number of films, while the European ones represent 30% and the domestic ones reach up to 20%), but they sell the most tickets by far. In 2009 Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs sold 334,000 tickets while the following year Avatar reached 610,000 spectators. American films also benefit from large advertising budgets whilst the generally low budget of Romanian films is to be seen also in terms of advertising. Simultaneously, documentaries practically do not benefit from a domestic market at all, while the shorts cannot be seen in cinema theatres or on television. Romanians might have read somewhere about shorts like Traffic, Călătorie la oraş/A Trip to the City (Corneliu Porumboiu, 2004) and Megatron (Marian Crişan, 2008), all three films awarded in Cannes; or about Un cartuş de Kent şi un pachet de cafea/Coffee and Cigarettes (Cristi Puiu, 2004) and O zi bună de plajă/A Good Day for a Swim (Bogdan Mustaţă, 2008), both awarded at Berlinale; or Valuri/Waves (Adrian Sitaru, 2007), but they’ve had no chance to see them except at festivals. Therefore, paradoxically such films are sometimes better known abroad than in Romania.

In comparison with other countries the figures are modest or even tiny. Indeed, in 2010 Romania had only 68 cinema theatres with 194 screens and 50,733 seats.[6] In 2010 there were 6,508,747 admissions to 427 films, which means an average of 0.3 admissions per inhabitant. 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days is only number 47 in a top list of entirely nationally produced films originating from central and eastern Europe in the last decade.[7] However, one cannot say that Romanians nowadays do not attend film screenings. In 2011 the Transylvania International Film Festival (TIFF), organized in Cluj-Napoca, sold more than 60,000 tickets in ten days for 220 films from 45 countries. [8] Indeed TIFF is the largest and best Romanian film festival while Cluj-Napoca is only the fourth largest Romanian city in number of inhabitants, with a population of 300,000 people. The same year 40,000 people were also present at a concert by ‘Scorpions’ in the same town.[9]

Romanian films also received important awards before 2004 but they hardly ever reached western European screens and have almost never got on to the American ones. In Eastern Europe their impact has been controversial: the new Romanian films could hardly penetrate the Russian market and until 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days they were ignored in Bulgaria, but they had an important impact in Hungary and Croatia. In 2009, according to a top list made by critics of the best ten films of the decade released in Croatia there are three Romanian films: 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days at number two (after Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), The Death of Mr Lăzărescu at number six and Police, Adjective at number ten.

We can conclude that the real problems are the small number of cinema theatres left and the current scepticism of the domestic audience. It is obvious that less than 51,000 seats in cinema theatres will not make Romanian films profitable. Even the constant growth of the market of home videotapes cannot help enough. A more rapid change might possibly happen with the taste of the Romanian audience. Presently the Romanian average spectator is no longer attracted by domestic cinema even when it comes to films belonging to popular genres such as crime or comedy and directed by the box-office champions of the Communist era, the directors Sergiu Nicolaescu and Geo Saizescu. A partial explanation may be that this time the two directors have lost their touch and Nicolaescu’s crime films Supravieţuitorul/Survivor (2008) and Poker (2010), as well as Saizescu’s comedy Păcală se întoarce/Pacala Returns (2006) are simply bad. And we might blame the younger directors for disregarding ‘genre films’, even during this era of ‘postmodernism’. However, one could find traces of a thriller in Stuff and Dough, as well as in 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days. The latter indeed becomes a thriller especially when the friend of the pregnant student tries to get rid of the foetus. Cristi Puiu’s film is rather an anti-thriller because the director does not initially focus on the masked individuals who follow the car of the youngsters and later we see them again dead only from a distance through the window of the moving car together with the main characters. As expected, Corneliu Porumboiu’s Police, Adjective is also not a real police thriller but one told at a pace reminding us of real time. On the other hand, we deal with the very definition of the policeman, which makes him different from the one in American films. The policeman is supposed to enforce the law, not to question it and be a moralist. An Austrian magazine has recently used ‘Ästhetik der Echzeit’/‘The Aesthetics of Real Time’ as the title of an article about Cristi Puiu’s Aurora (Landsgesell 2011). The author even used the expression ‘Slow-motion film mode’. Indeed, Puiu’s story about a serial killer surprises the audience with its denouement, but during three hours the camera insists on details that other films consider unimportant. Cristian Mungiu’s first feature Occident (2002) was an elaborate comedy compositionally similar to Nae Caranfil’s E pericoloso sporgersi/Sundays on Leave (1993) but obviously also to Rashomon or Pulp Fiction. The stories of at least three characters ingeniously mingle as alternative scripts on the themes of debauchment and the dream of immigration. After seven years the director returned to comedy with Tales from the Golden Age (screenplay by Cristian Mungiu, directed by Hanno Höfer, Răzvan Mărculescu, Cristian Mungiu, Constantin Popescu and Ioana Uricaru). He bears witness that: 

"Tales is a film made on purpose for an audience who considers cinema mainly as entertainment […] After all, if even a film like Tales from the Golden Age is not able to pull the viewer out of the house it simply means that we have to resign to the idea that the habit of going out to watch movies has disappeared in Romania and we, the film-makers have to think what to do next in such circumstances." (Bălaşu 2008)

Predicting the Future 

Antonia Kovacheva (2007) noticed that "for a while, exoticism has persisted among newcomers from Central and Eastern Europe, and the Balkans. […] There is still an expectation of sad movies originating in the shantytown ghetto south-east of Vienna". It is obvious that all the representatives of the Romanian New Wave have been attempting to make films without repeating themselves but also trying to keep up with their reputation. Cristian Mungiu predicted that "later on, rivalries will become unavoidable". Cristi Puiu replaces "rivalries" with "individuals" and predicts that:

"The Romanian moment at Cannes will end and this is very good. It is important for our directors to use their own names. They must become individuals. It is important to have distinct, personal outlooks on the world and cinema. This so-called New Wave has shown up and continues on the one hand under the inertia of Stuff and Dough and The Death of Mr Lăzărescu and on the other hand under the inertia of the Romanian school – I think mainly of Porumboiu’s and Nae Caranfil’s films. Somehow these two engines made possible what critics called the Romanian New Wave." (Iftimie 2010) 


Bălaşu, Relu (2008), ‘Interviu cu Cristian Mungiu’, 8 March, 

Chivu, Marius (2003), ‘Nu vreau sa fac filme la kilogram: de Interviu cu Cristian Mungiu’, Revista 22, 12 May, 

Elley, Derek (2007), ‘The Rest is Silence’, Variety, 19 August, 

Gheorghe, Marius (2010), ‘Cele mai scumpe filme romanesti lansate in 2010’, Daily Business, 14 October, 

Iftimie, Doru (2010), ‘Cristi Puiu: Regizorii români trebuie să-şi poarte numele’,, 9 September, Accessed 12 December 2011.

Iordanova, Dina (2001), ‘Displaced? Shifting Politics of Place and Itinerary in International Cinema’, Senses of Cinema, May,    .

Kanzler, Martin, Newman-Beaulais, Susan and Lange, André (2008), ‘The circulation of European co-productions and entirely national films in Europe 2001 to 2007’, Report prepared for the Council of Europe Film Policy Forum, Krakow, Poland, 11–13 September, Accessed 15 December 2011.

Kovacheva, Antonia (2007), ‘Stani, Lazare! Bulgarski filmi v Sofia Film Fest 2007’, Kultura, 14 (13 April).

Landsgesell, Gunnar (2011), ‘Ästhetik der Echzeit’, Ray Filmmagazin, May.  

Mihăilescu, Magda (2008), ‘Interviu cu Cristi Puiu’,, 

Mironică, Mihai (2004), ‘Am chef sa-mi povestesc biografia. Interviu cu Cristian Mungiu’, Observator Cultural, 246 (November),*articleID_12171-articles_details.html. Accessed 12 December 2011. 

Voiculescu, Elefterie (2005), Buftea jubileu: Adevăruri dintr-un semicentenar de vise, Bucharest: Ed. Arvin Press.

Zeitchik, Steven (2010), ‘Cannes 2010: Those Romanians are at it again’, Los Angeles Times Blogs, 13 May, Accessed 15 December 2011.


[1]  A Romanian weekly magazine of humour and satire of “Punch” or “Le Canard enchaîné” type
[2] An article by Dragos Vasile at p. 21 under a title mocking a cliché uttered by many soccer players: “It`s clear. Cristian Mungiu wanted the victory more”
[3] “Inregistrare a unei camere de supraveghere, confundata la Cannes cu un film romanesc”/ “Recording of a surveillance camera mistakenly taken as a Romanian movie” (at p. 19) signed by Dan Panaet
[4]  See
[5] The highest number of feature films produced any one year during the Communist period was 30, in 1980 (Voiculescu 2005: 78).
[6]  In 1938 Romania (with a population of 18 million inhabitants) had 436 cinema theatres with 149,000 seats. See Boabe de grâu, apud Cinefile, 1/ 2010, p. 29. In 1989 there were 620 cinema theatres with more than 200,000 seats and 4,000 equipments for screening 16mm films in the villages on top of that.
[7]  In USA there is an average of over four admissions per inhabitant each year in the last decades according to UNESCO figures:
[8]  See
[9]  See

  4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days
  Kino Caravan
  Police, Adjective
  12:08 East of Bucharest
  The Death of Mr. Lazarescu
  If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle
  Tales from the Golden Age
  California Dreamin` (Endless)
  Beyond the Hills
  The Way I Spent the End of the World
  The Paper Will Be Blue
  Medal of Honor
  The Survivor
  Stuff And Dough
  Cigarettes and Coffee
  The Rest Is Silence
  Don't Lean out the Window / Sundays on Leave
  Kapitalism - Our Improved Formula
  A Trip To The City
  Clara Voda
  Tudor Giurgiu
  Radu Muntean
  Cristian Mungiu
  Tudor Voican
  Marius Panduru
  Cristi Puiu
  George Pistereanu
  Cristian Nemescu
  Oleg Mutu
  Titus Muntean
  Liviu Marghitan
  Adrian Sitaru
  Alexandru Baciu
  Razvan Radulescu
  Corneliu Porumboiu
  Maria Dinulescu
  Andi Vasluianu
  Vlad Ivanov
  Mimi Branescu
  Anamaria Marinca
  Dragos Bucur
  Maia Morgenstern
  Bogdan Dumitrache
  Florin Serban
  Catalin Mitulescu
  Ana Ularu
  Marian Crisan
  Ozana Oancea
  Dina Iordanova
  Cosmina Stratan
  Cristina Flutur
  Andreea Valean
  Doroteea Petre
  Lucian Pintilie
  Marcel Iures
  Bogdan Mustata
  Sergiu Nicolaescu
  Silviu Stavila
  Nae Caranfil
  Alexandru Solomon
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