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U.S. Debuts Set for 6th Romanian Film Fest in NYC

By Brian Brooks | Indiewire November 7, 2011 at 7:19PM

Marian Crisan's "Morgen" will open the 6th Romanian Film Festival in New York at its new home at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, while "The Paper Will Be Blue" by Radu Muntean will close out the event. In all the event, taking place November 30 - December 6 will host seven U.S. premieres and one world debut.
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Marian Crisan's "Morgen" will open the 6th Romanian Film Festival in New York at its new home at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, while "The Paper Will Be Blue" by Radu Muntean will close out the event. In all the event, taking place November 30 - December 6 will host seven U.S. premieres and one world debut.

Additionally, the festival, co-hosted by FSLC and the Romanian Cultural Institute in New York, will honor Liviu Ciulei, one of the masters of Romanian theater and film, who passed away this October. Audiences will have the chance to view the first U.S. retrospective of Ciulei’s directing career including "Eruption" (1957), "Danube Waves" (1959), and "Forest of the Hanged" (1964). "Danube" actress Irina Petrescu and Romanian film critic Magda Mihailescu will attend select screenings and participate in post-screening Q&As.

Also in focus during the festival is director Radu Muntean, considered one of the most active members of the Romanian New Wave. The retrospective of the director's work includes the world premiere of his HBO documentary, "Visiting Room" and an extended conversation with Film Society Associate Program Director Scott Foundas.

"Welcoming the Romanian Film Festival to Lincoln Center feels like a homecoming of sorts," commented Film Society of Lincoln Center Associate Program Director Scott Foundas in a statement. "In 2008, the Film Society had the pleasure of working together with the Cultural Institute on a major retrospective of classic and contemporary Romanian cinema, and we are delighted to now present another dynamic program on the 10th anniversary of the Romanian New Wave."

The 2011 Romanian Film Festival descriptions with information and credits provided by the Film Society of Lincoln Center:

Opening Night Selection
MORGEN (2010) 100min
Director: Marian Crisan
Romania’s official Oscar submission for 2011 is a charming fish-out-of-water tale about a supermarket security guard who defies obtuse rules and his grumpy wife in order to help a friend in need: a Kurdish immigrant attempting to cross the border to Hungary on his way to Germany.
Wednesday, November 30 at 7:30PM and Friday, December 2 at 1:30PM
Followed by a Q&A with Director Marian Crian.

Closing Night Selection
THE PAPER WILL BE BLUE (2006) 95min
Director: Radu Muntean
Country: Romania
One of the most important works of the Romanian New Wave, Muntean’s second feature plunges us into the confusion of the long night of Dec. 22, 1989, the final night of the Romanian Revolution. With no one sure who is running the country or if, perhaps, a counter-coup has restored Ceauescu to power, a military tank command hunkers down in a quiet Bucharest suburb, awaiting orders but mainly trying to stay out of trouble. A young militiaman, Costi (Paul Ipate), eager to join the rebel forces, escapes from the unit and heads to the National Television station.
Tuesday, December 6 at 6:00PM
Followed by an extended Q&A with Radu Muntean and Film Society Associate Program Director, Scott Foundas.
 
U.S. Premiere
ADALBERT'S DREAM (Visul lui Adalbert) (2011) 101min
Director: Gabriel Achim
Country: Romania
Inventively shot with old-school VHS technology to match the drab look of Romania in the ‘80s, Gabriel Achim’s black comedy is based on a real story that took place in a factory at the time. It is the 8th of May 1986, the anniversary day of the Romanian Communist Party; a day celebrated with pomp, hypocrisy and fear by all institutions and factories of the time. But most importantly for Romanians, this is the day when the soccer team Steaua has won the Champions League after an epic penalty shootout.
Sunday, December 4 at 7:30PM.
Followed by a Q&A with actor Gabriel Spahiu.

U.S. Premiere
DIGGING FOR LIFE (Doina Groparilor) (2011) 55min
Director: Pavel Cuzuioc
Country: Romania
A remarkable documentary on a most unusual subject: the career gravediggers at Moldova’s Doina cemetery—the largest in Eastern Europe, comprising some 250,000 graves spread out over two million square meters of land. Director Pavel Cuzuioc follows these solitary men as they go about their solemn task in summer heat and winter frost, some having inherited the job from their fathers, all showing a sincere respect for their monotonous but necessary work.
Screening will take place at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center
Friday, December 2 at 7:00PM and 8:15PM.

HELLO! HOW ARE YOU? (Buna, ce faci?) (2010) 85min
Director: Alexandru Maftei
Country: Romania/Spain/Italy
Reportedly the first Romanian romantic comedy in ages, Alexandru Maftei’s witty tale of errors sees an estranged husband and wife searching for their soul-mates online and entering an affair... with each other. Even more confused is their adolescent and sexually very active son Vladimir, when he finds out that his parents have desires, too.
Saturday, December 3 at 5:30PM.

KAPITALISM: OUR IMPROVED FORMULA (Kapitalism – Reteta noastra secreta) (2010) 77min
Director: Alexandru Solomon
Country: Romania/France
Alexandru Solomon’s incisive documentary takes a look at Romanian capitalism and the new ruling class, uncovering its roots in the Communist past. Using a clever device, with the director inviting former dictator Ceauescu to revisit his country 20 years after he was executed, the film follows seven people who played their role in the old system and are now active as top businessmen. In spite of its ironic approach and playful style (spiced up with humorous Lego animation), Solomon’s film is a frightening account of Romanian reality that works as the Wild East’s twin of Michael Moore’s CAPITALISM: A LOVE STORY.
Screening will take placeat the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center
Sunday, December 4 at 1:00PM and 3:00PM.

LOVERBOY (2011) 95min
Director: Catalin Mitulescu
Country: Romania/Sweden/Serbia
Ctlin Mitulescu’s second feature, LOVERBOY, gets closer to the crude naturalism of IF I WANT TO WHISTLE, I WHISTLE, which he co-wrote and produced, than to the magic realism of his first film, THE WAY I SPENT THE END OF THE WORLD. The premise of this gritty study on human trafficking is pure gold, as the loverboy’s victims willingly agree to sell their bodies out of blind love for their seducer. Mitulescu convincingly recreates this fractured adolescent universe in which money matters most, feelings are commodified, hormones waft about uncontrollably, and ethics is on a long lunch break.
Saturday, December 3 at 10:00PM.

OUR SCHOOL (Scoala noastra) (2011) 93min
Director: Mona Nicoara & Miruna Coca-Cozma
Country: Romania/USA/Switzerland
This verité documentary co-directed by Brooklyn-based Mona Nicoar follows the trials and tribulations of three Roma (commonly known as “Gypsy”) children struggling against indifference, tradition, and bigotry in a small Transylvanian community. Shot over the course of four years and touching on issues ranging from institutionalized racism to public education to the intractability of poverty, OUR SCHOOLis an affectionate yet infuriating story about generational prejudice and squandered opportunities.
Thursday, December 1 at 9:00PM.
Followed by a Q&A with Co-director Mona Nicoar.
 
OUTBOUND (Periferic) (2010) 80min
Director: Bogdan George Apetri
Country: Romania/Austria
This fast-paced drama directed by Columbia University alumnus Bogdan George Apetri charts the whereabouts of a hard-edged female convict who, given a day pass to attend her mother’s funeral, plans to flee the country. But before boarding the boat that waits by the sea coast, Matilda (Ana Ularu) meets her estranged brother, whose life is ruled by his religious wife, her indebted ex-boyfriend Paul, a hotel owner turned pimp, and her son Toma, whom Paul has sent to an orphanage during her prison-time.. An official selection of the Locarno, Toronto, and New Directors/New Films festivals.
Sunday, December 4 at 1:00PM.
Followed by a Q&A with Director Bogdan George Apetri.

U.S. Premiere
PRINCIPLES OF LIFE (Principii de viata) (2010) 95min
Director: Constantin Popescu
Country: Romania
Following his scene-stealing supporting roles in 4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS AND 2 DAYSand POLICE, ADJECTIVE, Vlad Ivanov takes center stage in director Constantin Popescu’s wryly comic portrait of a frazzled everyman—a middle-aged, upwardly mobile husband and father with a successful business, a new home under construction, and a seemingly picture-perfect marriage (his second). However, the more he tries to keep his carefully ordered universe in a state of calm, the more it descends into chaos—from a blocked parking space to the tumult of a crowded supermarket to the moody indifference of his teenage son (from his first marriage).
Saturday, December 3 at 7:30PM.
Followed by a Q&A with actor Vlad Ivanov.

U.S. Premiere
RED GLOVES (Manusi rosii) (2010) 117min
Director: Radu Gabrea
Country: Romania/Germany
Radu Gabrea’s unsettling adaptation of Eginald Schlattner’s novel dares to confront the “obsessive decade” (as the ’50s were dubbed in Romania) in all its disturbing complexity. Conceived as a claustrophobic chamber piece, this is the movie of a tragic guilt that goes all the way in its exploration of the limits of a young Saxon writer (newcomer Alex Mihescu) pressured to incriminate his literary colleagues during months of intense interrogation and psychological torture caught in the vise of a repressive system.
Thursday, December 1 at 6:00PM.
Followed by a Q&A with Director Radu Gabrea.

10th Anniversary Screening
STUFF AND DOUGH (Marfa si banii) (2001) 90min
Director: Cristi Puiu
Country: Romania
The “stuff” in this debut feature by Cristi Puiu—one of the first examples of the post-Ceauescu Romanian filmmaking renaissance—isa satchel full of black-market prescription drugs. The “dough” is 2,000 lei promised to small-town teen Ovidiu (Alexandru Papadopol) if he agrees to hand-deliver the package to Bucharest on behalf of a local gangster (Rzvan Vasilescu). He does, inviting his slacker friend Vali (Drago Bucur) along for the ride, who in turn invites his apathetic girlfriend Bety (Ioana Flora). This unlikely trio then takes to the highway, and a hilariously deadpan road movie results.
Sunday, December 4 at 3:30PM.
Followed by apanel discussion about the 10 years of the Romanian New Wave. Moderated by Romanian Film Festival Artistic Director Mihai Chirilov and Film Society Associate Program Director Scott Foundas. Panel discussion is offered FREE TO THE PUBLIC.


Liviu Ciulei Retrospectiv

U.S. Premiere
New 35mm print
DANUBE WAVES (Valurile Dunarii) (1959) 110min
Director: Liviu Ciulei
Country: Romania
Ciulei’s second feature recalls the best of Fritz Lang and Michael Curtiz in its WWII-era espionage tale, set on a barge transporting Nazi munitions up the Danube. Ciulei himself gives a superb performance as Mihai, the barge captain forced to navigate the heavily mined waters along with his new bride, Ana (Irina Petrescu). As the journey wears on, Mihai becomes increasingly suspicious of one of his crew, ex-convict Toma (Lazr Vrabie), and his intentions towards Ana. But Toma has a far graver—and potentially deadly—secret to conceal.
Friday, December 2 at 8:30PM.
Introduced by actress Irina Petrescu.

U.S. Premiere
New 35mm print
ERUPTION (Eruptia) (1957) 108min
Director: Liviu Ciulei
Country: Romania
Ciulei’s impressive debut feature—produced in connection with the 100th anniversary of the Romanian oil industry—unfolds in a nearly deserted oil town where a few remaining prospectors linger, hoping against hope for the titular rush of black gold. Into this bleak setting arrives an ambitious young student from the big city, who finds herself drawn to the charismatic engineer Barbu. But it is not long before her presence in this lonely place stirs dormant passions in the hearts of the other men as well.
Friday, December 2 at 3:45PM.

FOREST OF THE HANGED (Padurea spanzuratilor) (1964) 154min
Director: Liviu Ciulei
Country: Romania
During the most brutal days of World War I, Apostol Bologa (the extraordinary Victor Rebengiuc), a Romanian serving as a lieutenant in the Austro-Hungarian Army, is part of the Court Martial that punishes deserters and other problem soldiers. Gradually the horror of his routine builds up inside of him, forcing a choice between his military duty and greater feelings of humanity. Ciulei’s most ambitious and masterfully realized film, particularly striking in its impressionistic landscape photography, FOREST OF THE HANGED earned Ciulei the Best Director prize at the 1965 Cannes Film Festival and became the first Romanian feature to attract widespread international attention. It remains one of the cinema’s greatest studies of the dehumanizing effects of war.
Friday, December 2 at 6:00PM.
Introduced by film critic Magda Mihilescu.


Radu Muntean Retrospective

BOOGIE (2008) 102min
Director: Radu Muntean
Country: Romania
Before TUESDAY, AFTER CHRISTMAS, Muntean co-wrote and directed this equally affecting study of a man and a woman at a critical juncture in their relationship. During a vacation at the Black Sea with his three-year-old son and pregnant wife Smaranda, Bogdan (Drago Bucur) unexpectedly bumps into two old friends from his hellraising bachelor days (when he was known by the nickname “Boogie”). Soon, Smaranda (Anamaria Marinca) finds Bogdan reactivating the bad habits she thought he’d put behind him, placing yet more tension on their already strained partnership.
Thursday, December 1 at 3:30PM.
Introduced by Director Radu Muntean.

THE PAPER WILL BE BLUE (Hartia va fi albastra) (2006) 95min
Director: Radu Muntean
Country: Romania
See CLOSING NIGHT SELECTION.

U.S. Premiere
THE RAGE (Furia) (2003) 82min
Director: Radu Muntean
Country: Romania
In debt to the Gypsy mafia for $7,000 after failing to throw an illegal street race, wayward youths Luca (Drago Bucur) and Felie (Andi Vasluianu) ensnare Luca’s high-school friend, Mona (Dorina Chiriac), in their scheme to repay mob boss Gabonu (Adrian Tuli). But these not especially well-laid plans quickly go awry, Luca and Mona go on the lam, and THE RAGE blossoms into an unexpected romance—albeit with the threat of danger ever present.
Sunday, December 4 at 5:30PM.
Introduced by Director Radu Muntean.

TUESDAY, AFTER CHRISTMAS (Mari, dup Crciun) (2010) 95min
Director: Radu Muntean
Country: Romania
In Muntean’s closely observed, brilliantly acted relationship drama—a Romanian SCENES FROM A MARRIAGE—middle-aged Paul (Mimi Brnescu) must choose between his wife of 10 years, Adriana (Mirela Oprior), and his mistress, pediatric dentist Raluca (Maria Popistau). As Paul’s attempts to conceal his adultery box him into an ever narrowing corner, Muntean heightens the suspense by staging the film in a series of immaculately framed and choreographed long takes, in which his trio of actors convey the raw emotional states of their characters without ever devolving into histrionics. Oprior, Brnescu’s real-life wife, is a particular revelation as the oblivious and then wounded Adriana, astonishing in her portrayal of one woman’s betrayal, hurt, and spite.
Monday, December 5 at 6:00PM.
Followed by a Q&A with Director Radu Muntean.

World premiere
VISITING ROOM (Vorbitor) (2011) 62min
Director: Radu Muntean and Alexandru Baciu
Country: Romania
Radu Muntean and his longtime collaborator Alexandru Baciu (who co-wrote THE PAPER WILL BE BLUE, BOOGIE, and TUESDAY, AFTER CHRISTMAS) find love where one least expects it, throwing a compassionate look on long-term convicts who found their soul-mates while confined. For this clean-cut, nonjudgmental documentary made for HBO Romania, the directors maintain a steady distance from their subjects, yet manage to enter their most intimate thoughts. For people who no longer have anything left to lose, embracing love possibly represents their only hope for a better future.
Monday, December 5 at 8:30PM.
Followed by a Q&A with Director Radu Muntean.


Shorts Program
(Total run time: 132min)
The Shorts Programwill screen at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center on Friday, December 2 from 1:00PM-6:30PM and Saturday, December 3 from 4:00PM-11:00PM. These screenings are FREE TO THE PUBLIC.

BORA BORA (2010) 32min
Director: Bogdan Mirica
Country: Romania
Wishing to put an end to his bad luck while living in a drought-affected area, a man commits to work for a foreigner, unaware of the fact that he is becoming involved in illegal activities. This offbeat, Kaurismaki-like comedy won Best Romanian Short at the 2011 Transilvania International Film Festival.

DRAFT 7 (2011) 23min
Director: Luiza Parvu
Country: Romania
In this graduation short that graciously recalls Wong Kar-wai’s IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE, two young actors, Olimpia and Edi, meet in an Irish pub in downtown Bucharest and start rehearsing for their next film.

SILENT RIVER (Apele tac) (2011) 31min
Director: Anca Miruna Lazarescu
Country: Romania/Germany
Romania, 1986. Gregor and Vali want to get away, swimming across the Danube to Yugoslavia. Both need each other, yet there is mutual distrust. One night Gregor finds his doubts confirmed. In the end only hope is left. A 2011 Berlin Film Festival selection.

STOPOVER (2010) 14min
Director: Ioana Uricaru
Country: Romania
Ingrid is a beautiful and cosmopolitan Romanian woman married to a Norwegian. While waiting for her connecting flight in an Italian airport, her wallet is stolen and she’s left without passport, money, and boarding pass. This subtle story about compromise was written by Cristian Mungiu (4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS AND 2 DAYS) and competed last year in Sundance.

STRUNG LOVE (2010) 21min
Director: Victor Dragomir
Country: Romania
Viorel, a nerd from the smithing class in a Communist-era professional school, enters a rivet-manufacturing contest hoping to win the attention and affection of Ileana, a schoolmate from the sewing class. Yet another ironic but endearing tale from the Golden Age.

SUPERMAN, SPIDERMAN OR BATMAN (Superman, Spiderman sau Batman) (2011) 11min
Director: Tudor Giurgiu
Country: Romania
Aron, a 5-year-old boy, sets out with his worried father on a journey, and at the end, he wants to save his mother suffering from a heart condition, like a superhero. From the director of LOVE SICK. Nominated for the European Film Academy award.

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