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Tales from the Golden Age: Recent Romanian Cinema

June 11, 2010 - June 27, 2010

Police, Adjective, June 18, 20

Whether portraying ordinary life during or after the repressive Ceauşescu era, the highly acclaimed Romanian New Wave details a world tinted gray. But in that shade, the filmmakers find amazing nuance, further enlivened by black humor and unexpected narrative lines. Long nights when ambulances don’t arrive or doctors barter over providing care; officials who can’t answer a question directly but are adept at manufacturing news photos; and police who add new letters to the law: all of these exist within a landscape that is literally falling apart. It is a state of affairs that produced fear but also ingenuity under the dictatorship, and that is a wellspring of absurdist comedy even as it drains the color from life today. The style of these films is often minimal; the impact is anything but. As A. O. Scott wrote in the New York Times, “there is an almost palpable impulse to tell the truth, to present choices, conflicts, and accidents without exaggeration or omission. This is a form of realism, of course, but its motivation seems to be as much ethical as aesthetic, less a matter of verisimilitude than of honesty.”

Kathy Geritz
Film Curator

Friday, June 11, 2010
6:30 p.m. Tales from the Golden Age
Iona Uricaru, Hanno Hoefer, Ravzan Marculescu, Constantin Popescu, Cristian Mungiu (Romania, 2009). Romania’s brightest new directors, led by Cannes award-winning Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days), unite for these delightfully absurdist tales of life during the Ceauşescu era. “Probably the most efficient way to experience what makes the Romanians such distinctive moviemakers.”—Boston Globe (138 mins)

Friday, June 11, 2010
9:05 p.m. 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days
Cristian Mungiu (Romania, 2007). Two young women go underground to terminate an unwanted pregnancy in this gripping, prizewinning drama. “Beautifully realistic, faultlessly made.”—L.A. Times (113 mins)

Sunday, June 13, 2010
5:00 p.m. Tales from the Golden Age
Iona Uricaru, Hanno Hoefer, Ravzan Marculescu, Constantin Popescu, Cristian Mungiu (Romania, 2009). See June 11. (138 mins)

Friday, June 18, 2010
7:00 p.m. Police, Adjective
Corneliu Porumboiu (Romania, 2009). The Wire in Romania; Serpico with a thesaurus: a beat cop tails a low-level pot dealer around town, and engages his superiors in verbal battles about law, language, and justice. “Extraordinary: Porumboiu is one of the few helmers working today who so completely understands both the power of language and the power of visuals.”—Variety (113 mins)

Sunday, June 20, 2010
5:00 p.m. Police, Adjective
Corneliu Porumboiu (Romania, 2009). See June 18. (113 mins)

Friday, June 25, 2010
7:30 p.m. The Death of Mr. Lăzărescu
Cristi Puiu (Romania, 2005). Puiu’s saga of the last hours in the life of a cranky Bucharest widower is “both sad and darkly funny . . . sharply conceived and richly populated.”—Chicago Reader. “A thorny masterpiece.”—N.Y. Times (154 mins)

Sunday, June 27, 2010
5:00 p.m. Videograms of a Revolution
Harun Farocki, Andrei Ujică (Germany, 1992). Ceauşescu’s infamous December 1989 televised speech—delivered the night his regime fell—is the centerpiece of Farocki’s sophisticated investigation of the power of images. (106 mins)

Series curated by Kathy Geritz. With thanks to Oana Radu, Romanian Cultural Institute, New York; Justin DiPietro, IFC Films; Debbi Berlin, Palisades Tartan; Anke Hahn, Deutsche Kinemathek; and Shannon Kelley, UCLA Film and Television Archive.