The Romanian New Wave

The New York Times Magazine ran this article on January 18th about the rise of Romanian Cinema. The article looks at the place of Romanian cinema as it emerges as a dominating world cinema. An excerpt from the article is below.

A.O. Scott also offers analysis of five films discussed in the article: The Death of Mr. Lazarescu; Four Months, Three Weeks, and Two Days; The Paper Will Be Blue; 12:08 East of Bucharest; and California Dreamin’ in this interactive feature.


New Wave on the Black Sea By A. O. Scott
Published: January 20, 2008

“Have you seen the Romanian movie?” This somewhat improbable question began to
circulate around the midpoint of the 2005 Cannes Film Festival. For some reason, the critics, journalists and film-industry hangers-on who gather in Cannes each May to gossip and graze rarely refer to the films they see there by their titles, preferring a shorthand of auteur, genre or country of origin (“the Gus Van Sant”; “the Chinese documentary”; “that Russian thing”). It’s a code that everyone is assumed to know, and in this case there was not much room for confusion. How many Romanian movies could there be?

More than most of us would have predicted as it turned out. […]

In three years, then, four major prizes at the world’s pre-eminent film festival went to movies from a country whose place in the history of 20th-century cinema might charitably be called marginal. The post-Cannes triumphal march of 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (it opens in New York on Friday) to the tops of English-language critics’ polls and year-end lists, as well as to a Golden Globe nomination, offers belated confirmation of last spring’s news flash from the Côte d’Azur. But perhaps you are hearing it here first: the Romanian new wave has arrived. […]

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