Monday, January 21, 2008

Romanian New Wave (?)


There is a nice long essay-reportage by A.O Scott in the latest New York Times Magazine on the recent crop of films from Romania which have grabbed one award after another in various film festivals in the last couple of years. The only film I have been able to see so far is The Death of Mr. Lazarescu. It is very grim (as you can probably guess from the title) but, as Scott says, it is also full of life. Its concerns are not metaphysical but the ordinary goings-on of daily. It brings us to face not the horror of death but the horror of a certain kind of death - an impersonal death. I will try to find the other films too, specially the new abortion movie which won the Golden Palm last year.

4 comments:

Space Bar said...

I've been dying to watch thw Puiu for more than a year now. My dvd library looks at me blankly every time I ask if they've got it yet.

And 4 Months 3 Weeks and 2 Days is 'the new abortion movie'?!

Roxana Ghita said...

yes, it is. and it's a great movie, which also managed to bring people back to the cinema halls in romania. and, of course, it sparked new controversies about abortion, women rights (as the orthodox church is now more powerful than ever) and about how people tend to remember the ceausescu era (the "nostalgic" camp versus the others). my parents` generation went to the movie to be confronted with the reality they lived every day, and I witnissed many discussions whith people remembering this story and that story related to abortions, many with a tragic end. but I still wonder how the young generation will react to it.
I can`t wait to read your impressions about it, alok.

Madhuri said...

There seems to be something wrong with the link you have posted - can't get to the referred article.

I recently watched this year's acclaimed Romanian movie - 4 months, 3 weeks, 2 days - the theme was very well depicted. But I still think that Mungiu's original idea Memories from the Golden Age would have been more powerful - the individual story was not long enough for a conventional movie and seemed stretched at a few points. Yet, it was very well done.

Alok said...

madhuri: the link is fixed now. thanks for pointing. I am surprised you got a chance to see it already. It hasn't been shown outside film festivals or been out on DVD either as far as I know. Have been waiting for it for quite some time.

roxana: the new york times article says something about this too. "And it clearly felt that way to the members of the Romanian diaspora as well, except that they found humor in addition to horror in revisiting a familiar bygone world. What followed the screening was less the anticipated Q-and-A session than a trip down memory lane, which spilled out into the theater lobby and continued well into the night."

space bar: Sorry, I was too lazy to type the full name and it is hard to remember too.

I hope you get a chance to see Mr. Lazarescu sometime. It is very grim but as anyone who has ever gone to any hospital, not just in Romania but anywhere, can testify it is also true to life. they probably can't function if they don't treat their patients impersonally.