Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

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, […]

There’s a single characteristic about Sieranevada around which all the others revolve, and that is duration. The film is 173 minutes long. Other films, of course, have been longer, but that’s by all means an impressive span of time, and Sieranevada makes sure we feel it: a solid 150 minutes or more of the film […]

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. Lazarescu, winner of the 2005 Un Certain Regard at Cannes; Corneliu Porumboiu’s […]

The funniest movie I’ve seen all year is a satire on the state of public discourse in Romania. No wait, come back! Please? A fost sau n-a fost?, or 12:08 East of Bucharest to us Yanks (the original title translates, I believe, as Was It or Wasn’t It?, making this one of the exceedingly rare […]

For all that I bitch about the tedious movies that I see these days, I do live just one short el ride from the second-best art movie market in North America. Sure, a lot of what gets into art theatres is crap nowadays, but lo and behold I actually saw something like a masterpiece on […]