The Romanians: 30 Years of Cinema Revolution

Selections from the largest program dedicated to Romanian cinema presented in the U.S. to date, this series celebrates 30 years of post-Ceauşescu cinema.

Back in 2005, a three hour-long black comedy about a dying man made history by resurrecting Romanian cinema. The Death of Mr. Lăzărescu was part of the birth of an artistic revolution that ignited an ever-growing international interest in an outstanding generation of filmmakers. It also triggered the rediscovery of past highlights which offered a genealogy for what critics came to call the Romanian New Wave.

Spanning the 30 years since the 1989 Romanian Revolution and the fall of Communism, this comprehensive showcase presents 30 representative titles from the recent history of Romanian cinema. Naturally, history is the running theme in most films. In the 1990s, directors who found themselves freed from the tyranny of censorship rushed out in the open to tell stories from the recent past. In the following two decades, younger directors went back in time on their own terms and came up with a fresh perspective on the communist era. Even when they chronicled the present in sharp slices of life, the dark shadows of the past still permeated their contemporary stories, like familiar ghosts. And then there is the enigma of the Revolution itself, which continues to beg for closure.

Newer films dig into the more distant though equally relevant past, and there is also escapism, mostly in genre formats. But despite its apparent diversity, this vast retrospective works best as a history lesson served in the most entertaining form: movies.

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