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. Continue reading Cristian Mungiu – 4 luni, 3 saptamâni si 2 zile AKA 4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days (2007)
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. Continue reading Dan Pita – Femeia visurilor AKA Dream Woman (2005)
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?” Continue reading Corneliu Porumboiu – A fost sau n-a fost? AKA 12-08 East of Bucharest (2006)
Toma and Ana meet as students in the literature faculty, and quickly fall in love.
The story of Ana and Toma and the thread of Ana’s mental illness, which runs through their relationship – their extremely challenging situation molds the life they share.
Who’s to blame when Toma’s girlfriend Ana, a college student, goes off the rails with incapacitating panic attacks? Tracing the causes of her mental ills back to her early family life, including a father who defected to the West, the film proposes various cures that range from prescription drugs to confession in church and — just a short step beyond that — the couch. It’s a smart film with engaging moments.
The games people play with each other and the trap of co-dependency are the main focus. As shrewd a psychologist as any therapist, Netzer adopts a warm approach to his characters but doesn’t let them off the hook when, on closer observation, their altruistic actions are revealed as controlling and manipulative. Continue reading Cãlin Peter Netzer – Ana, mon amour (2017)
A group of freshmen in an orthodox college are introduced in a world of cons, pleasure and money, but they soon discover that’s not the way one’s life should be lead.
Continue reading Daniel Sandu – One Step Behind the Seraphim (2017)
Stone Wedding (Nunta de piatra) is made of two distinct segments directed by two different directors. The first part (M. Veroiu) depicts the miserable life of a widow in Romania at the beginning of the century. The second part (D. Pita) is about a bride on the day of her wedding. The best part of both movies is the soundtrack by Dorin Liviu Zaharia, Dan Andrei Aldea and Sfinx. Continue reading Dan Pita & Mircea Veroiu – Nunta de piatra AKA The Stone Wedding (1973)
If any additional evidence was required to confirm Cristian Mungiu as one of the leading European filmmakers of the day, here comes Graduation, his most mature film to date. This portrait of parental dilemma which erupts out of the blue but is deeply anchored in Romanian soil is a universal story which brings with it strong prospects for both prestige and market success.
The director of the Palme D’Or winning 4 months, 3 weeks, 2 days and the Cannes directors award for Beyond the Hills takes an introspective and earnest approach to the story of Dr Romeo Altea (Adrian Titieni) a calm, respectable member of society. He wants the best for his daughter, Eliza (Maria Dragus), a brilliant high school student who has already been awarded a scholarship to study psychology in UK, and he will do anything in his power to keep her on track. All she has to do is pass the graduation exams. Continue reading Cristian Mungiu – Bacalaureat AKA Graduation (2016)