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 after the death of her father, a former government official, whose ashes she takes to toting in a coffee jar. On her wanderings through grotesque and often violent surroundings, she meets Mitică. The couple, like Tristan and Isolde at the gates of the Orient, cannot live out their love according to the rules. A series of events – floods, pollution, Mitică’s arrest, military maneuvers and massacres – split up our heroes, and reveal a context in which nothing works properly and everything seems to be falling apart. NEW 4K RESTORATION

Actress Anda Onesa in person (Nov 16)
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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 historic first ever 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)
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Timișoara, December 1989
Ovidiu Bose Paștină. 1991, Romania, 81 min
Set in the title Romanian city during the tumultuous fall of Communist dictator Ceauşescu, this stark black-and-white documentary chronicles the attempts of government soldiers to quell a citizens’ revolt. But during the few days of the uprising, which preceded and stirred 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.
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Film Forum New York

Nov 15, 2019
9:00 pm

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BAMPFA Berkeley CA
Film Forum New York
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The State of Things
Stere Gulea. 1995, Romania, 89 min
Gulea’s film seems intent on revealing life’s tragic paradoxes and sad ironies as reflected in recent Romanian history. It is December 21st, 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 for care at the hospital where her soon-to-be husband works, only to find him the morning after in the hospital’s morgue, shot dead in the head. In the instability and chaos that ensues, the couple is pressured into providing fake documents which would absolve the secret police for his death, and others. The woman refuses to collaborate and her nightmare begins: she is arrested and convicted on a trumped-up charge, consequently being humiliated, beaten up and raped in prison. Her only comfort remains the child she is carrying.
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Luxury Hotel
Dan Pița. 1992, Romania/France, 107 min
An ambitious young manager attempts to renew the stale ambiance of a restaurant inside a luxury hotel, only to find his initiatives questioned by the big 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 a treacherous web of lies that prevent the development of a normal life. A Silver Lion winner at the 1992 Venice Festival, this visually impressive feast is a strange allegory of what living in a totalitarian regime meant, whose main character is Ceaușescu’s pharaonic palace itself and the heaviest building in the world, ironically called The People’s House.
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The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceaușescu
Andrei Ujică. 2010, Romania, 180 min
Andrei Ujică’s new film, 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 simply edited archival material of Ceauşescu and reconstructed his historical adventure – an adventure which, because we’re dealing with a head of state, formed the very destiny of this state itself. From a formal point of view, The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceauşescu proves that with exclusive use of existing images it is indeed possible to yield films focused on recent history, yet with an epic vein similar to that of the historical fiction cinema such as, most notably, the ample period pieces in American cinema dedicated to the Vietnam War generation.

Director Andrei Ujică in person (Film Forum, Nov 16 / BAMPFA, Feb 16)
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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 the revelation of 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 sharp 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.
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Film Forum New York

Nov 17, 2019
2:10 pm

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BAMPFA Berkeley CA
Film Forum New York
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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 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 with a Holocaust touch, Romanian-born 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 the most provocative yet reverent ending. A Sundance Audience Award winner.
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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 first examples of the post-Ceauşescu Romanian filmmaking renaissance—is a satchel full of black-market prescription drugs. The “dough” is 2,000 lei promised to small-town teen Ovidiu (Alexandru Papadopol) if he agrees to hand-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, and the hilariously deadpan road movie that results is a reminder that Puiu, who originally sought to become a painter, has cited a viewing of Jim Jarmusch’s Down by Law as a key event in his decision to pursue filmmaking.
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Do Not Lean Out the Window
Nae Caranfil. 1993, Romania/ France, 104 min
If any film can be said to bridge the gap between the pre-1989 and today’s Romanian cinema, it’s Nae Caranfil’s Do Not Lean Out the Window, a wry look at the last 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, following their efforts and compromises in the face of a system that’s collapsing around them. In the course of the film, the three switch roles, the actor becoming a kind of soldier while the student learns the value of acting. Unlike many other Romanian films of the era, Do Not 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.
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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. But 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 favorably, while of course hiding certain details from them. This Cannes competition entry reframes Daneliuc's 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.
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The Great Communist Bank Robbery
Alexandru Solomon. 2004, Romania/France, 75 min
A strange robbery at the Romanian National Bank in 1959 triggered a massive police search. When the alleged burglars were caught and arrested, they reenacted their crime for a television film in which they played themselves. Although evidence suggests the criminals believed they would be spared the death sentence by appearing in the film, their reality was otherwise. Described by director Alexandru Solomon as a “political detective story,” this documentary investigates both a historical mystery and the transformation of history into film.
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12:08 East of Bucharest
Corneliu Porumboiu. 2006, Romania, 89 min
Winner of the 2006 Camera D’Or prize, this sociopolitical 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 in which 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 Romanian Revolution of 1989 that ended communism in Romania, and how even recent historical events take on shape and meaning according to how they explain or justify the present.
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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 7-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 Un Certain Regard section (Best Actress Award for Dorotheea Petre).
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Film Forum New York

Nov 20, 2019
7:50 pm

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BAMPFA Berkeley CA
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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 misunderstanding, 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 posthumous debut feature 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)
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Tuesday, After Christmas
Radu Muntean. 2010, Romania, 100 min
In 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 box 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.
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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 unfeeling bureaucracy—and paid the ultimate price.
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Film Forum New York

Nov 21, 2019
6:10 pm

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BAMPFA Berkeley CA
Film Forum New York
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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 in Romania, 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 of unexpected revelations. Transpiring over the course of a single day, Mungiu’s film is a masterwork of modern filmmaking, by parts poignant and shocking. 
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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 us humans from animals. Despite a certain cruelty or disdain for the animals, the eventual love one finds in an animal companion is wonderful to witness in Sitaru’s masterfully written and choreographed film.
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Film Forum New York

Nov 22, 2019
10:00 pm

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BAMPFA Berkeley CA
Film Forum New York
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Niki and Flo
Lucian Pintilie. 2003, Romania/France, 105 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, who is also a former colonel in the Romanian army, is torn between his wish to see his daughter happy and his desire to have her close by; meanwhile Flo, the father of Niki’s son-in-law and a domestic tyrant of sorts, slowly exerts his control over Niki. The screenplay was written by Cristi Puiu and Răzvan Rădulescu, who collaborated also 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." – A.O. Scott, The New York Times
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Tales from the Golden Age
Cristian Mungiu, Ioana Uricaru, Hanno Höfer, Răzvan Mărculescu, Constantin Popescu. 2009, Romania/France, 150 min
Mungiu, the director of 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days, and four other directors created this omnibus film of five bizarre and outlandish urban tales that capture the strange reality of life during the totalitarian regime of the Ceausescu 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
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Film Forum New York

Nov 23, 2019
8:15 pm

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BAMPFA Berkeley CA
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Of Snails and Men
Tudor Giurgiu. 2012, Romania/France, 100 min
A group of desperate workers come up with the crazy idea of donating sperm in order to save their car factory from bankruptcy and, consequently, from being privatized. The official story is that some French investors will take over the plant and convert it into a snail cannery. But the stark truth is that they will just sell the big machines for big money and disappear. What follows is a hilarious crusade that ends up leaving no room for dreams—which is ironic, because in the beginning of the ‘90s, fresh out of the communist regime, Romanians thought that anything was possible. This Full Monty-like bittersweet comedy is based on a real story from that era, at the exact time when the King of Pop visited Romania, had a blast of a concert and left for good—implying that there was no viable American Dream to back up the faith of those trying to make it back then.

Director Tudor Giurgiu and actor Andi Vasluianu in person
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Film Forum New York

Nov 23, 2019
5:40 pm

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BAMPFA Berkeley CA
Film Forum New York
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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. 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 and horrifying. Stunningly shot in glimmering, widescreen black and white, Aferim! plays like a classic western spring-loaded with cutting social commentary.
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Film Forum New York

Nov 23, 2019
3:30 pm

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BAMPFA Berkeley CA
Film Forum New York
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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 Russia. His search for Gruber leads him to discover terrifying truths, which have been long hidden and twisted by the official history of Romania.
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Film Forum New York

Nov 24, 2019
1:10 pm

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BAMPFA Berkeley CA
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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 a protector for her more delicate 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 Moldova 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.
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Dogs
Bogdan Mirică. 2016, Romania/France/Bulgaria/Qatar, 104 min
A young man from the city comes to a remote village in rural Romania to sell the land he inherited from his grandfather, and discovers that the old man had been a crime lord. 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 bad guy, after 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days and Snowpiercer). Meanwhile, the local policeman investigates the finding of a severed foot, but what he’s really after is revenge on his lifetime nemesis, at any cost. If the Coen brothers had been Balkan born, this is how their No Country for Old Men would have looked. 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.
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Film Forum New York

Nov 24, 2019
5:30 pm

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BAMPFA Berkeley CA
Film Forum New York
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The Earth's Most Beloved Son
Şerban Marinescu. 1993, Romania, 138 min
A promising intellectual is arrested on wrong accusations by the repressive Secret Police and is sentenced to prison and forced labor at the end of the Stalinist era. Once released and trying to regain his normal life, he can only get but the lowest jobs, being caught in the same chain of humiliations and fight for survival in a totalitarian regime dominated by despotic rulers, odious snitches and moral compromises. 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 mediocrity.
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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 – 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 makes things especially complicated, as the relation between mother and son is cruelly tormented. Playing the domineering yet strangely sympathetic mother – who might be the victim after all – Luminița Gheorghiu (the nurse with a heart of gold in The Death of Mr. Lăzărescu) is pitch perfect, walking on a tightrope.
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Film Forum New York

Nov 25, 2019
8:40 pm

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BAMPFA Berkeley CA
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Soldiers: A Story from Ferentari
Ivana Mladenović. 2017, Romania/Serbia/Belgium, 119 min
"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) An unexpected romance blossoms between two men amid 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.
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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
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Film Forum New York

Nov 26, 2019
8:00 pm

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BAMPFA Berkeley CA
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