Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

The, as it were, “house style” of most Romanian films that get exported to the United States with any sort of visibly marketing push is already four-fifths of the way towards documentary: early milestones of the Romanian New Wave like 2005’s The Death of Mr. Lǎzǎrescu and 2007’s 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days […]

For as long as the Romanian New Wave of the mid-2000s could be identified as such, Corneliu Porumboiu has been, I think, the director to make the easiest, most likable films. This is mostly because he’s the only one of the major, exportable Romanian filmmakers to focus on comedies, however biting and bleak their satiric […]

In truth, it doesn’t matter to me that it’s a Romanian film (I tend to love Romanian films), a dark comedy (most of my favorite Romanian films are dark comedies), a story about totalitarian politics (my favorite Romanian dark comedy, 12:08 East of Bucharest, is about the nation’s history of totalitarianism), or as the cherry […]

The Romanian New Wave that stormed into international prominence with The Death of Mr. Lăzărescu in 2005, 12:08 East of Bucharest in 2006, and 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days in 2007 is still with us, though I think it’s fair to say that it lacks the sparkle of the new. Some while ago, […]

He doesn’t get as much press or awards attention as Cristian Mungiu, but I dunno: Corneliu Porumboiu will always be “my” Romanian film director, somehow. His feature debut, 12:08 East of Bucharest is one of my favorite comedies of the 2000s and one of my favorite satires ever; and now, ten years later and with […]

Screens at CIFF: 10/12 & 10/15World premiere: 19 May, 2012, Cannes Film Festival We do not dislike Beyond the Hills – this is as much an affirmation as a preemptive clarification. It would be quite impossible to dislike in which so much, for such a large part of the running time, is amazing. Nor do […]

Screens at CIFF: 10/9 & 10/14 & 10/15World premiere: 18 May, 2011, Cannes Film Festival It’s certainly too early to confidently announce the death of the Romanian New Wave, especially with Corneliu Porumboiu and Christian Mungiu still alive and well, but it doesn’t take a doomsday prophet to find that the country’s national style has […]

Happily, my second run-in with the Romanian New Wave at the 46th Chicago International Film Festival was a great deal more successful than my first. The fourth film from writer-director Radu Muntean – though the first given even the remotest push amongst we English-speakers – Tuesday, After Christmas is not at the tip-top of the […]

Romanian filmmaking, as everybody with more than a passing interest in international cinema already knows, has blown up in the last few years, becoming the hot New Wave of the moment (and in the process, robbing the nascent Korean New Wave of oxygen; but now is not the time for that). All the best festivals […]

The best film (to my eyes) of the current wave of Romanian films remains 12:08 East of Bucharest, the first feature by director Corneliu Porumboiu. A political satire at heart, it shares the aesthetic of glacially slow long takes that have defined that country’s art-house hits in the last five years with a sense of […]

The festival and art house crowd might be excused for declaring a Romanian New Wave on the basis of what amounts to just three films in as many years, for those three films are all pretty amazing: Cristi Puiu’s The Death of Mr. Lăzărescu, winner of the 2005 Un Certain Regard at Cannes; Corneliu Porumboiu’s […]