Film Forum New York = film-forum-ny

BAMPFA Berkeley CA = bampfa

Seattle, WA = seattle-wa

Lightbox Film Center Philadelphia, PA = lightbox-philadelphia-pa

Arizona Romanian Film Festival = phoenix-az

NOW STREAMING = now_streaming

The Romanians: 30 Years of Cinema Revolution

The largest Romanian film program ever presented in the U.S. kicks off at Film Forum New York, in the framework of the 14th Making Waves Festival for a 12-day, 30-film celebration of 30 years of post-Ceauşescu cinema. Runs November 15-26, 2019.

Special guests are directors Andrei Ujică, Tudor Giurgiu, Contantin Popescu, actress Anda Onesa, as well as actor and Making Waves ambassador Andi Vasluianu.

Venue: Film Forum, 209 West Houston Street, New York, NY 10014, between 6th Avenue and Varick (7th Avenue)
Tickets: $9.00 Member; $15.00 Regular. Box Office: 212-727-8110
  

The largest Romanian film program ever presented in the U.S. kicks off at Film Forum New York, in the framework of the 14th Making Waves Festival for a 12-day, 30-film celebration of 30 years of post-Ceauşescu cinema. Runs November 15-26, 2019.

Special guests are directors Andrei Ujică, Tudor Giurgiu, Contantin Popescu, actress Anda Onesa, as well as actor and Making Waves ambassador Andi Vasluianu.

Venue: Film Forum, 209 West Houston Street, New York, NY 10014, between 6th Avenue and Varick (7th Avenue)
Tickets: $9.00 Member; $15.00 Regular. Box Office: 212-727-8110
  

The Oak
Lucian Pintilie. 1992, Romania/France, 105 min
The Oak is an absorbing, complicated black comedy about Romania at the end of the Ceauşescu regime. A young schoolteacher named Nela embarks on a spiritual journey following the death of her father, a former government official, whose ashes she carries with her in a coffee jar. During her wanderings through grotesque and often violent surroundings, she meets Mitică. The couple, like Tristan and Isolde at the gates of the Orient, cannot pursue their love without disruption. A series of events – floods, pollution, Mitică’s arrest, military maneuvers and massacres – split up our heroes, and reveal a backdrop in which nothing works properly and everything seems to be falling apart. NEW 4K RESTORATION

Actress Maia Morgenstern in person (Mar 13, Lightbox Film Center Philadelphia)
Videograms of a Revolution
Andrei Ujică & Harun Farocki. 1992, Germany, 106 min
For Videograms of a Revolution, Andrei Ujică and Harun Farocki collected amateur video and material broadcast by Romanian state television after it was taken over by demonstrators in December 1989. The audio and video represent the first revolution in which television played a major role. The film’s protagonist is contemporary history itself.
"By the end of the week, and the Ceausescus’ executions, nothing is real – or historical – until it is seen on television.” – Michael Atkinson, The Village Voice

Director Andrei Ujica in person (Film Forum, Nov 15, 6:30 pm / BAMPFA, Feb 12)
Timișoara, December 1989
Ovidiu Bose Paștină. 1991, Romania, 81 min
Set in the eponymous Romanian city during the tumultuous fall of communist dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu, this stark black-and-white documentary chronicles the attempts of government soldiers to quell a citizens’ revolt. But during the short uprising, which preceded and inspired the Bucharest events of December 21–22, a surprising thing happens – the soldiers join the citizens. The filmmakers use interviews, video footage of the events and archival photographs to recreate the revolt. “Translucently beautiful, the film looks as if it were shot with an X-ray machine, a simile which is echoed in the grueling testimonies of people betrayed and exposed by their own revolution.” – 1995 Human Rights Watch Film Festival
Showtimes
Film Forum New York

Nov 15, 2019
9:00 pm

The State of Things
Stere Gulea. 1995, Romania, 89 min
Stere Gulea’s film seems intent on revealing life’s tragic paradoxes and sad ironies as reflected in recent Romanian history. It is December 21, 1989 and a severely wounded teenager shows up in the middle of the night at the front door of a young nurse. She takes him to a hospital where her fiancé works, only to find the teenager in the hospital’s morgue the following morning, shot in the head. In the chaos that ensues, the couple is pressured into providing fake documents that would absolve the secret police of being responsible for his death, as well as many others. The woman refuses to collaborate and thus her nightmare begins: She is arrested and convicted on a trumped-up charge, and is consequently humiliated, beaten and raped in prison. Her only comfort remains the child she is carrying.
Luxury Hotel
Dan Pița. 1992, Romania/France, 107 min
An ambitious young manager attempts to refresh the stale ambiance of a restaurant inside a luxury hotel, only to find his initiatives questioned by the boss of the establishment. Punished for his daring, he is downgraded from the higher floors where the privileged live to the very basement of the Kafkaesque building and has to face treachery and deceit that prevent him from leading a normal life. A Silver Lion winner at the 1992 Venice Festival, this visual feast is a curious allegory about living in a totalitarian regime, in which the main character is Ceaușescu’s pharaonic palace and the heaviest building in the world, ironically called The People’s House. "Highly recommended for fans of dystopian social satire.” - J.B. Spins
The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceaușescu
Andrei Ujică. 2010, Romania, 180 min
Andrei Ujică’s The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceauşescu is the last installment of the trilogy that started with Videograms of a Revolution and continued with Out of the Present. It’s not a “documentary” or a “docudrama,” but rather a “fiction” feature with real, historical characters. Ujică didn’t shoot a single frame of footage, because everything was already shot. He edited archival material of Ceauşescu and reconstructed his historical journey – a journey that, because we’re dealing with a head of state, formed the very destiny of the state itself. From a formal point of view, The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceauşescu proves that, by solely using existing images, it is possible to yield films focused on recent history with an epic vein similar to the many American fiction films dedicated to the Vietnam War.

Director Andrei Ujică in person (Film Forum, Nov 16 / BAMPFA, Feb 16)
The Death of Mr Lăzărescu
Cristi Puiu. 2005, Romania, 154 min
The film that, for many people, signaled the emergence of the new Romanian cinema, Cristi Puiu’s second feature was a revelation at Cannes 2005, where it took top prize in the Un Certain Regard section. A sardonic, darkly humorous, compulsively vibrant feature, The Death of Mr Lăzărescu seems so realistic and convincing, unfolding as though in real time, that it’s hard to believe it was acted. As it follows an ailing retired engineer, too fond of booze, who gets carted from one overtaxed Bucharest hospital to another in search of proper medical care, a whole stressed society is laid bare: Each doctor, nurse, paramedic and patient leaps into view with individuality and articulate self-defensiveness. Compassion and indifference clash, often within the same person. The fluid, mobile camera recalls the great works of Fred Wiseman and John Cassavetes.
Showtimes
Film Forum New York

Nov 17, 2019
2:10 pm

Train of Life
Radu Mihăileanu. 1998, France/Belgium/Romania/Netherlands/Israel, 103 min
The village fool of a small Jewish community warns his townsfolk that the Nazis are coming and suggests that they build a train so they can escape by “deporting” themselves. Some villagers are chosen to act as the Germans who will pretend to transport the rest to a concentration camp when in fact they are heading to Palestine via Russia. Often compared to Life is Beautiful as they’re both essentially comedies using the Holocaust as a backdrop, Romanian-born Radu Mihăileanu’s second feature is a subversively entertaining fable that succeeds in creating a story in which optimism and fantasy coexist with dark reality, complete with a highly provocative yet reverent ending. A Sundance Audience Award winner.
Stuff and Dough
Cristi Puiu. 2001, Romania, 90 min
The “stuff” in this debut feature by The Death of Mr. Lăzărescu and Sieranevada director Cristi Puiu – one of the pioneers of the post-Ceauşescu Romanian filmmaking renaissance – is a satchel full of black-market prescription drugs. The “dough” is 2,000 lei (around $500) promised to small-town teen Ovidiu (Alexandru Papadopol) if he agrees to carry the package to Bucharest on behalf of a local gangster (Răzvan Vasilescu). He does, inviting his slacker friend Vali (Dragoş Bucur) along for the ride, who in turn invites his apathetic girlfriend Bety (Ioana Flora). This unlikely trio then takes to the highway – the hilariously deadpan road movie that results is a reminder that Puiu, who originally had ambitions of becoming a visual artist, has cited a viewing of Jim Jarmusch’s Down by Law as a key event in his decision to pursue filmmaking.
Do Not Lean Out the Window
Nae Caranfil. 1993, Romania/ France, 104 min
If any film can be said to bridge the gap between Romanian cinema prior to 1989 and today, it’s Nae Caranfil’s Don’t Lean Out the Window, a wry look at the final years of communism. The film follows the stories of two young men and a woman – humorously labeled The Student, The Actor and The Soldier – and then intertwines them, charting their journeys in a system that’s collapsing around them. In the course of the film, the three switch roles, the actor becoming a soldier of sorts while the student learns the value of acting. Unlike many other Romanian films of the era, Don’t Lean Out the Window refused to engage in the polemic that emerged with the fall of communism. Its protagonists are nuanced, complex characters, who’ve learned to survive and even thrive in an environment that often bred hypocrisy in even the simplest of social exchanges.
Snails’ Senator
Mircea Daneliuc. 1995, Romania, 112 min
Senator Vîrtosu (Dorel Vișan) spends the weekend at a guesthouse formerly owned by the Communist Party, where in true communist tradition, he’s presented with gifts from its employees and petitions from the local villagers. However, his relaxing weekend is disrupted by a crew of Swiss journalists filming in the area. Vîrtosu cooperates with them, trying to make sure the reporters present his country in a favorable light, while hiding certain details from them. This Cannes competition entry reframes Mircea Daneliuc's 1980 The Cruise against the backdrop of a society in transition and adds apocalyptic and Dostoevskian accents to the depravity and penance of the main villain: the Communist Party activist turned member of a democratic parliament. Daneliuc’s film is a fierce political satire that thankfully doesn’t concern itself with delivering a positive image of Romania.
The Great Communist Bank Robbery
Alexandru Solomon. 2004, Romania/France, 75 min
An unusual robbery at the Romanian National Bank in 1959 triggered a massive police search, and an even more unusual outcome. When the alleged burglars were caught and arrested, they reenacted their crime for a TV movie film in which they played themselves. Although evidence suggests the criminals believed they would be spared the death sentence by appearing in the film, the reality was different. Described by director Alexandru Solomon as a “political detective story,” this documentary investigates both a historical mystery and the transformation of history into film.
12:08 East of Bucharest
Corneliu Porumboiu. 2006, Romania, 89 min
Winner of the 2006 Camera D’Or prize, this socio-political satire focuses on a group of characters who commemorate the 16th anniversary of Ceaușescu’s fall on December 22, 2005. “12:08” refers to the exact time of day when Ceaușescu fled, whereas the original Romanian title roughly translates as “Was There or Was There Not?” (a revolution in our town) – the central question being hotly debated throughout the film. What seems like a formally simple and straightforward story is actually a sophisticated and wryly funny reflection on the scope of the 1989 revolution, and how even recent historical events take on different shapes and meanings in explaining or justifying the present.
The Way I Spent the End of the World
Cătălin Mitulescu. 2006, Romania, 101 min
Bucharest 1989: the last year of Ceauşescu’s dictatorship. Eva lives with her parents and her seven-year-old brother Lalalilu. She is 17 years old, very attractive and caught up in the turmoil of falling in love for the first time while struggling to come of age. Eva has a secret dream she shares only with her brother: escaping from Romania and traveling the world. Along with his best friends from school, Lalalilu devises a plan to kill the dictator so that Eva can stay and live in a free country. The Way I Spent the End of the World opened in Cannes 2006, in the Un Certain Regard section, with Dorotheea Petre winning the Special Jury Award for Best Actress.
Showtimes
Film Forum New York

Nov 20, 2019
7:50 pm

California Dreamin’ (Endless)
Cristian Nemescu. 2007, Romania, 155 min
A NATO gun shipment supervised by an American officer that’s scheduled to cross Romania via train during the Kosovo war of the late 1990s is blocked by a stubborn rural station official who objects to the lack of accompanying documents. What follows is an epic farce of carnivalesque proportions, touching on cultural misunderstandings, corruption, vengeance and the American dream. “Its themes are serious, but they are addressed with a playful exuberance,” wrote A.O. Scott in the New York Times back in 2007. Today, revisiting Nemescu’s feature debut, released after his death in 2006, one thing’s for sure: The film’s seduction and electrifying rock’n’roll vitality – far removed from the stripped-down realism of most of New Romanian Cinema’s big hits – remain unaltered.

Actor Andi Vasluianu in person (Nov 21 @ Film Forum)
Tuesday, After Christmas
Radu Muntean. 2010, Romania, 100 min
IIn Radu Muntean’s closely observed, brilliantly acted relationship drama – a Romanian Scenes from a Marriage – middle-aged Paul (Mimi Brănescu) must choose between his wife of 10 years, Adriana (Mirela Oprişor), and his mistress, pediatric dentist Raluca (Maria Popistaşu). As Paul’s attempts to conceal his adultery paint him into an ever-narrowing corner, Muntean heightens the suspense by staging the film in a series of immaculately framed and choreographed long takes, in which his trio of actors convey the raw emotional states of their characters without ever devolving into histrionics. Oprişor, Brănescu’s real-life wife, is a particular revelation as the oblivious and then wounded Adriana, astonishing in her portrayal of one woman’s betrayal, hurt and spite.
Crulic – the Path to Beyond
Anca Damian. 2011, Romania/Poland, 73 min
This chilling documentary is “narrated” by Claudiu Crulic, a young Romanian in Poland who was arrested for a crime he didn’t commit, only to become a pawn in a Kafkaesque miscarriage of justice that resulted in his death from a hunger strike. Combining innovative hand-drawn, cutout and collage animation techniques, director Anca Damian crafts a devastating portrait of a man who stood up to an uncaring bureaucracy – and paid the ultimate price
Showtimes
Film Forum New York

Nov 21, 2019
6:10 pm

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days
Cristian Mungiu. 2007, Romania, 113 min
Winner of the Palme D’Or at Cannes, and one of the masterpieces of the Romanian New Wave, this drama of two friends arranging an illegal abortion in 1980s Romania is marked by formal rigor, exquisite writing and acting, and period detail that perfectly evokes the bleakness of the era. During the final days of communism, college roommates Otilia (Anamaria Marinca) and Găbița (Laura Vasiliu) are busy preparing for a night away. But rather than planning for a holiday, they are making arrangements for Găbița’s illegal abortion, and unwittingly, both find themselves burrowing deep down a rabbit hole filled with revelations. Taking place over the course of a single day, Mungiu’s film is a masterpiece of modern filmmaking, in parts both poignant and shocking.
Domestic
Adrian Sitaru. 2012, Romania/Germany, 85 min
There’s a tender and humorous touch to this light collection of tales about people who eat the animals they love, and the animals that love people unconditionally. A rabbit, a cat, a dog, a hen, and a pigeon share screen time with a wonderful ensemble of actors playing the residents of an apartment building, revealing the very small distance that separates humans from animals. Despite a certain cruelty or disdain for the creatures in question, the eventual love one finds in an animal companion is wonderful to witness in Adrian Sitaru’s masterfully written and choreographed film.
Showtimes
Film Forum New York

Nov 22, 2019
10:00 pm

Niki and Flo
Lucian Pintilie. 2003, Romania/France, 96 min
A very black comedy, Niki and Flo is about ill-suited neighbors united by marriage. Angela and her husband have decided to leave Romania for a better life in the United States. Niki, Angela's father, a former colonel in the Romanian army, is torn between his wish to see his daughter happy and his desire to have her remain nearby. Meanwhile Flo, the father of Angela’s husband and a domestic tyrant of sorts, slowly exerts his control over Niki. The screenplay was written by Cristi Puiu and Răzvan Rădulescu, who collaborated on Stuff and Dough and The Death of Mr. Lăzărescu. “A mordant almost-comedy that represents a bridge — and also a battle — between the old Romania and the new [...] its observant naturalism infused with a delicate, almost coy sense of the absurd" – A.O. Scott, The New York Times
Tales from the Golden Age
Cristian Mungiu, Ioana Uricaru, Hanno Höfer, Răzvan Mărculescu, Constantin Popescu. 2009, Romania/France, 150 min
Along with four other directors, Cristian Mungiu, the director of 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days, created this omnibus film of five bizarre and outlandish urban tales that capture the strange reality of life during the totalitarian regime of the Ceaușescu era, ironically dubbed “the Golden Age.”
"Tales doesn’t feel the need to criticise the lunacy of the regime, but it finds plenty of mileage in its affectionate look at the men, women and children who had to survive it.” – Screendaily
Showtimes
Film Forum New York

Nov 23, 2019
8:15 pm

Of Snails and Men
Tudor Giurgiu. 2012, Romania/France, 100 min
A group of desperate workers come up with the unusual idea of donating sperm in order to save their car factory from bankruptcy and, consequently, from being privatized. The official line is that French investors plan to take over the plant and convert it into a snail cannery. But the stark truth is that they will just sell off the heavy machinery and disappear. This Full Monty-like bittersweet comedy is based on a true story from Romania in the 1990s, fresh from overthrowing Ceauşescu’s regime, when Romanians thought that anything was possible.

Director Tudor Giurgiu and actor Andi Vasluianu in person (Film Forum, Nov 23, 2019)
Showtimes
Film Forum New York

Nov 23, 2019
5:40 pm

Aferim!
Radu Jude. 2015, Romania/Bulgaria /Czech Republic, 105 min
“Shot in richly toned, wide-screen black and white, Aferim! looks like an elegant exercise in period playacting. But it casts a fierce, revisionist eye on the past, finding the cruelty and prejudice that lie beneath the pageantry.” - The New York Times. Radu Jude’s international breakthrough is a picaresque odyssey through 19th-century Romania, which tackles one of the most shameful episodes in the country’s history: the enslavement of the Roma people. As a bounty hunter and his son scour the mountains for a fugitive slave, they are thrown into a series of encounters by turns scathingly funny or utterly horrifying. Stunningly shot in glimmering, widescreen black and white, Aferim! plays like a classic western spring-loaded with cutting social commentary.
Showtimes
Film Forum New York

Nov 23, 2019
3:30 pm

Gruber’s Journey
Radu Gabrea. 2008, Romania/Hungary, 97 min
"Directed by the veteran Radu Gabrea (and co-written by Răzvan Rădulescu), this film is an absorbing tragicomedy which focuses on the attempts of the Italian author Malaparte to search for Josef Gruber, a Jewish doctor, whom he hopes will help cure his severe allergy. The red tape that he has to wade through to find the doctor makes Dickens’ Circumlocution Office seem straightforward,” writes Ronald Bergan in The Guardian. A friend of Mussolini’s and a war correspondent attached to the Wehrmacht troops, Malaparte arrives in the Romanian town of Iași in June 1941, soon after the Romanian Army, under the orders of Marshall Ion Antonescu, entered the “sacred war” as an ally to Hitler’s Germany against the Soviet Union. His search for Gruber leads him to discover terrifying truths, which have been long hidden and twisted by the official history of Romania.
Showtimes
Film Forum New York

Nov 24, 2019
1:10 pm

Beyond the Hills
Cristian Mungiu. 2012, Romania/France/Belgium, 150 min
This harrowing, visually stunning Cannes-winner from director Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days), inspired by the non-fiction novels of Tatiana Niculescu Bran, unfolds in and around a remote monastery where pious young women toil dutifully under the ever-watchful eye of an austere priest known as Papa (the excellent Valeriu Andriuță). As the film opens, Alina (Cristina Flutur) arrives to visit her friend Voichița (Cosmina Stratan), one of the nuns in training. As children, the two women lived together in an orphanage where the tough, short-tempered Alina served as protector of her more sensitive friend. Now, Alina wants Voichița to leave her cloistered life and return with her to Germany. Inspired by a case of alleged demonic possession that occurred in Romania’s Moldavia region in 2005, Beyond the Hills is not a supernatural thriller but rather an all-too-believable portrait of dogma at odds with personal liberty in a society still emerging from the shadow of Communism.
Dogs
Bogdan Mirică. 2016, Romania/France/Bulgaria/Qatar, 104 min
A young man from the city travels to a remote village in rural Romania to sell the land he inherited from his grandfather, and discovers that the old man was the local crimelord. In order to sell, he has to face his grandfather’s deputies, now led by an affable Tartar (Vlad Ivanov, effortlessly superb again as a villain, as in 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days and Snowpiercer). Meanwhile, a local policeman is investigating the discovery of a severed foot, but what he’s really looking for is revenge on his lifetime nemesis at any cost. If the Coen brothers had been Balkan born, this is how No Country for Old Men would have turned out. First-time director Mirică won the critics’ prize in Cannes and the top award at the Transilvania International Film Festival for this slick and thrilling Molotov cocktail of genres.
Showtimes
Film Forum New York

Nov 24, 2019
5:30 pm

The Earth's Most Beloved Son
Şerban Marinescu. 1993, Romania, 138 min
A promising intellectual is arrested on false accusations by the repressive secret police and is sentenced to forced labor in prison at the end of the Stalinist era. Following his release, he can only find the lowliest of jobs, and is trapped in a chain of humiliation and survival in a totalitarian regime dominated by despotic rulers, odious snitches and moral compromise. In this solid adaptation of the eponymous cult novel written by Marin Preda, the great Romanian actor Ștefan Iordache (the malefic dictator in Luxury Hotel) is just as compelling playing the victim descending into the hell of a life unfulfilled.
Child’s Pose
Călin Peter Netzer. 2013, Romania, 112 min
Winner of the Golden Bear at Berlinale and a box-office hit at home, Netzer’s third film brilliantly deals with the mother of all moral dilemmas – the impossible choice faced by a parent willing to do everything in order to save her son who killed a child in a car accident. The tight script cleverly highlights the tormented relationship between mother and son, as well as the mores (or lack thereof) of the well-connected noveau riche. Playing the domineering yet strangely sympathetic mother – who might be the real victim – Luminița Gheorghiu (the nurse with a heart of gold in The Death of Mr. Lăzărescu) is pitch perfect, walking on an ethical tightrope.
Showtimes
Film Forum New York

Nov 25, 2019
8:40 pm

Soldiers: A Story from Ferentari
Ivana Mladenović. 2017, Romania/Serbia/Belgium, 119 min
An unexpected romance blossoms between two men in a ramshackle Bucharest neighborhood in this tender, offbeat love story. When Adi, an anthropologist researching regional pop music, meets Alberto, a burly Roma ex-con, the two lonely souls enter into a relationship that tests the societal and moral taboos of their community. Documentarian Ivana Mladenović brings a wonderfully loose-limbed, vérité naturalism to her auspicious narrative debut, based on the eponymous book written by Adrian Schiop, who plays himself in the movie. "Ivana Mladenović’s fiction debut is Romanian social realism with an ethnographic edge, but it’s also a romance between two ostensibly heterosexual men achieving an unexpected bond.” (Screen Daily)
Pororoca
Constantin Popescu. 2017, Romania/France, 152 min
“This is muscular hard-art fare that… could propel Popescu into the upper ranks of his country’s auteurs.” - Variety It is every loving parent’s worst nightmare: the devastating disappearance of a beloved child, and then their desperate struggle to stay sane while trying to save their marriage. The long scene in which the little girl goes missing in a park full of people is a movie in itself, masterfully staged by Constantin Popescu (Tales from the Golden Age), and challenges us to pinpoint the exact moment when everything goes wrong. It makes for intense viewing that is only more visceral thanks to Bogdan Dumitrache’s raw performance playing the father consumed with obsession and guilt.

Director Constantin Popescu in person
Showtimes
Film Forum New York

Nov 26, 2019
8:00 pm