Undoubtedly, it is a pleasure to discover a new cinematic direction for those who are interested in world cinema. Just as French New Wave cinema and Italian neorealism introduced the world to some of the most influential directors in history, Romanian New Wave cinema introduced many promising film artists to the world.
So what is Romanian new wave cinema? Today we will answer this question and present you with a brief overview of 9 classics of Romanian new wave cinema.
Romanian new wave cinema
Romanian New Wave Cinema is a movement that brings an impressive cinematic insight into Romanian cinema and also thematically influences the Romanian people during and after the Ceausescu regime.
Romanian new wave cinema began with four films released between 2004 and 2005. Starting with two award-winning short films by two Romanian directors, Catalin Mitulescu and Cristi Puyu, this movement has led to some of the most realistic films made in Romania since the mid-20s.
The filmmakers of the Romanian New Wave Cinema movement continued to make realistic and minimally stylized films, addressing the social crisis and political changes in Romania.
The title “Romanian New Wave Cinema” was first used by critic Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian in 2008 to describe a new innovative trend in Romanian cinema.
All the directors of this movement that brought Romanian cinema to the center of attention were deeply influenced by the great Romanian director Lucian Pintilie. The three main directors that make up this film movement; Corneliu Porumboyu, Cristi Puyu and Radu Muntean.
Creating honest cinematographic works that reflect the life and realities of the people of Romania, these directors began to make films that openly express their views on what is happening in their country. This film movement is still relevant, and under the influence of this movement, new films continue to be released.
You can also read this article: Hollywood Renaissance! American New Wave Cinema and 8 Film Samples
1. Babardeală cu bucluc sau porno balamuc / Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn (2021) – IMDB: 6.6
Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn, the 2021 comedy-drama film that won the Golden Bear for Best Feature Film at the Berlin International Film Festival, is a new production from director Radu Jude.
The film was also nominated for an Academy Award as Romanian Film in the Best International Feature Film category at the Academy Awards. Produced on a budget of less than $1 million, the production was acclaimed by audiences and critics alike.
Amy’s career and reputation are under serious threat after a sex tape of Amy’s schoolteacher is leaked online. Forced to face her parents who demand that she be fired from teaching, Amy refuses to bow to their pressure. In this film, Radu Jude tackles hypocrisy and prejudice in our society in an unconventional way, offering a provocative mix of cheeky humor and bold commentary.
2. Eu Cand Vreau sa Fluier, Fluier / If I want to whistle, I whistle (2010) – IMDB: 7.0
Winner of the Alfred Bauer Award and the Grand Jury Silver Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival, If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle is a 2010 drama film directed by Florin Sherban.
This film, which was also nominated for an Oscar as a Romanian film, was excluded from the final list. The film, starring George Pistereanu, was critically acclaimed.
After spending his youth in prison, Silviu is released in the last years of his youth. Before leaving prison, his mother returned to Romania, despite Silviu’s objections. After meeting Ana, a young woman working on a research project in a prison, Silvio begins to take an interest in her. Silvio, who is helpless and hopeless in this interest, will try to resort to force.
3. Politician, adjective / Police, adjective (2009) – IMDB: 7.0
Cop, Adjective, a 2009 drama film, is an impressive work that won the FIPRESCI Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, as well as the Jury Prize for Un Certain Regard.
Dragos Bucur stars in the film written and directed by Corneliu Porumbolu. The film was also nominated for an Oscar by Romania in the Best Foreign Language Film category at the Academy Awards.
In crime-ridden Vaslui, Christie is a young cop; He is married to Anka, a conscientious, concise and newly appointed teacher. Christie, who began following a child who smoked marijuana on suspicion of being a salesman, didn’t like the job very much. Because the arrest of this non-seller and the only user of cannabis is sure to ruin his life, and Christie shirks her duty, assuming that Romania will soon tolerate cannabis.
His warden clearly tells him that the law is the law, and demands that the matter be ended with a speedy arrest. Christy wants to follow another teenager whose father is a construction worker. Christie makes comments, writes a report, asks for a meeting with the prosecutor. Can the conscience of a policeman interfere with his duty?
4. Seranevada (2016) – IMDB: 7.3
Winner of the Gold and Silver Hugo Awards for Best Film and Best Director at the Chicago International Film Festival and nominated for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, Sieranevada is a 2016 comedy-drama film directed by Christy Puyu.
The title of the film, taken from the Sierra Nevada mountain range, is intentionally misspelled, a parodic element seen in esoteric style films. Although the film was nominated for the Romanian Oscar, it was not deemed worthy of a nomination.
Three days after the attack on the office of the weekly Charlie Hebdo newspaper in Paris, Lari, a 40-year-old doctor, will spend Saturday at a family gathering in memory of his father. However, this meeting will not go as expected. Faced with his fears and his past, as well as rethinking his place in the family, Larry has a hard time admitting the truth and explaining himself.
5. Undergraduate – Graduation (2016) – IMDB: 7.3
The Prom is a 2016 Palme d’Or-nominated crime and drama film that won Christian Munguu the Best Director award at the Cannes Film Festival. The Prom, which also won 2 Silver Hugo awards at the Chicago International Film Festival, earned about $2 million worldwide.
Romeo Aldea, a 49-year-old doctor living in a small mountain town in Transylvania, raised his daughter Eliza with the idea that when she turned 18 she would go to study and live abroad. Her plan is close to success because Eliza has won a scholarship to study psychology in England.
All he has to do is pass his final exams, which is a mere formality for a good student like Eliza. The day before her first written exam, Eliza is attacked by a seizure that could threaten her entire future. This leaves Romeo with the need to make decisions that will profoundly affect both him and Eliza.
6. Pozitia Copilului / Child’s Pose – Child Pose (2013) – IMDB: 7.4
Childish Pose, which won the FIPRESCI and Golden Bear awards at the Berlin International Film Festival where it premiered, was also chosen as Romanian Picture of the Year when it was released at the Academy Awards but was not nominated.
The film, directed by Kalin Peter Netzer, was also denied funding by the Romanian Film Board because it presents a controversial portrait of the Hungarian minority in Romania.
Cornelia, a wealthy architect in an elite social circle, learns on her birthday night that her son Barbu has been in a fatal car accident and will be tried for murder. This sad event inevitably ignites an already difficult conflict between mother and son.
It is a state of imbalance between an overprotective and almost suffocating mother and a spoiled child; Amidst facts and distortions, this intervention will show that this caring mother is determined to do everything for her child. Who can stand in the way of motherly love?
7. California Dreamin’ / Nesfarsit (2007) – IMDB: 7.7
California Dreamin’ is a 2007 comedy, war and drama film that won the Un Certain Regard award at the Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for the Golden Camera Award.
Director Cristian Nemescu died before the editing of the film, and therefore this film, was completed; It is also Nemescu’s last feature film. The film greeted the audience with its 155-minute version without cutting scenes in memory of the director.
In 1999, during the Kosovo War, a NATO-equipped train commanded by Captain Doug Jones and escorted by US Marines was stopped in Chapalnitsa, a cursed Romanian village, by stationmaster Doiaru, who blocked the train due to paperwork.
For five days, the villagers try to take advantage of the unexpected presence of the Americans. For example, the mayor organizes a holiday in their honor. Meanwhile, Jones’ aide, Sergeant David McLaren, falls in love with the station chief’s daughter, Monica, who dreams of a better world. But will Americans be able to get used to this situation?
8. Death of Mr. Lazarescu – Death of Mr. Lazarescu (2005) – IMDB: 7.8
Winner of the Un Certain Regard Award at the Cannes Film Festival for The Death of Mr. Black. Lazarescu; It is a 2005 black comedy film directed by Christy Puyu. “21st Century” New York Times. Ranked at number 5 on the “Top 25 Films of the Century” list, the film was not an international box office success, but was not well received by critics.
Mr. Lazarescu, a lonely 63-year-old man, feels unwell and calls an ambulance. When the paramedic arrives, he decides he needs to be taken to the hospital; but there they decide to send him to another hospital and then to another hospital. As the night continues and a hospital for Mr. Lazarescu still cannot be found, Mr. Lazarescu’s health begins to deteriorate rapidly.
9. 4 months, 3 weeks and 2 days – 4 months, 3 weeks, 2 days (2007) – IMDB: 7.9
The film, which was declared worthy of the Palme d’Or and the FIPRESCI award at the Cannes Film Festival, earned over $9 million despite a very small budget.
Ranked at number 15 on the BBC’s list of the 100 best films of the 21st century, Christian Mungiu’s work has also had political implications. The work, which premiered at the Transylvania International Film Festival in Romania, received critical acclaim for its minimalist aspects.
The Ceausescu dictatorship dominates Romania in 1987; birth control is illegal, and abortion is considered a crime punishable by death. Gabita (Laura Vasliu) has reached her fifth month of unwanted pregnancy and is desperate. She seeks help from her friend and roommate Otilia (Anamaria Marinka) to get an over-the-counter abortion.
When these two women meet Bebe (Vlad Ivanov), an illegal abortion, they don’t even know who he is and finally start to think something is wrong. This tragic story is also a socio-political satire against the oppression of the dictatorship.
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