The Jacob Burns Film Center, of Pleasantville, NY, will feature a program “Tales from the Golden Age: New Romanian Cinema” from September 23 through October 6. The program is curated and will be presented by Mihai Chirilov, the founder and artistic director of the Transylvania International Film Festival.
Works by Cristian Mungiu (“4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days”) and the upcoming New York Film Festival selection “The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu,” followed by a Q&A with director Andrei Ujica, are among the features in the program.
For more information, go here.
Full press release and lineup below:
Pleasantville, NY – September 13, 2011 – The Jacob Burns Film Center (JBFC), a cultural arts institution with a dual mission of film and education, has announced the dates and films selected for the upcoming Romanian film series. The series “Tales from the Golden Age: New Romanian Cinema” will run from September 23 through October 6.
“When The New York Times film critic, A.O. Scott, was recently asked to cite several foreign virtuoso female performances that Americans are largely unaware of, he instantly reached for the recent cinema of one country: Romania,” said JBFC Programming Director Brian Ackerman. “Romanian filmmaking has taken off since the fall of communism in 1989. As a country barely emerged from its totalitarian past, on the margins of European awareness, still anxiously poor, and with little infrastructure to support a native film industry, Romania’s rise is a kind of ‘black swan’: a strange, beautiful and unpredicted phenomenon. “
In addition, JBFC welcomes Mihai Chirilov, the founder and artistic director of Transylvania International Film Festival, to present the two-week retrospective of 13 films from the last ten years of Romanian cinema. This fall, Chirilov will be the JBFC International Programmer-in-Residence. His residency is made possible by the Fellowship for Understanding through Film, developed through a grant from Kathryn W. Davis, with support through grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The series is presented in partnership with the Romanian Cultural Institute of New York.
During his JBFC residency, Chirilov will also host a Professional Development Panel for Programmers of Westchester arts institutions. Following the session, guests are invited to screen The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu followed by a Q&A with director Andrei Ujica and Chirilov. This panel is presented in partnership with ArtsWestchester.
The opening night presentation of Tales from the Golden Age is a collection of short films written, produced, and codirected by Cristian Mungiu who also wrote and directed 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days. The series also includes The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu which was just included in the INDIEWIRE list of 30 must-see indie films this fall. (http://www.indiewire.com/article/fall_indie_preview_the_30_must_see_films). For more information on films in the series and to purchase tickets, visit http://www.burnsfilmcenter.org/films/film-series/detail/43870.
Films in the series include:
Tales from the Golden Age – Sept. 23, 7:00
This new collection of short films written, produced and codirected by Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) shows the so-called brighter side of everyday life in communist Romania. The filmmakers construct a tragicomic portrait of a nation that, facing the absurdities of life under a dictatorship, found ways to survive by laughing at its troubles and inventing surrealistic strategies to cheat the system. Various Directors. 2011. 150 m.
Q&A guest curator Mihai Chirilov
4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days – Sept. 24, 7:15
Set during the communist regime, with its many humiliations, and dealing with a sensitive topic (abortion), this superbly acted drama works best as a social thriller about a young woman rebelling against the system and assuming all the sacrifices that await her, in order to preserve her inner freedom. Cristian Mungiu. 2007. 113 m. R. Romania, in Romanian with subtitles.
Tuesday, After Christmas – Sept. 26, 7:15
Set in present-day Romania and beautifully shot in bright colors, Tuesday, After Christmas tells the intimate story of a thirty-something married man who has fallen in love with another woman. No villains are responsible for the disintegration of the perfect family. Radu Muntean. 2010. 99 m. NR.
Love Sick – Sept. 27, 7:15
It is a double love story, tender and painful, almost luminous but with dark shading. It’s centered on a girl who is in love with both her brother and another girl, which makes it controversial by Romanian standards; it’s one of very few local films with a gay theme. Tudor Giurgiu. 2006. 86 m. NR.
Niki and Flo – Sept. 28, 8:00
Former military officer Niki’s domestic comfort is threatened by his best friend Flo, who conspires to help family members emigrate to America. And so begins this brutal story of the complete dissolution of a man far beyond the boiling point. The most recent film by Pintilie, is as cynical as the rest of his work, moving slowly and implacably toward a violent act that strangely restores moral order. Lucian Pintilie. 2003. 99 m. NR.
Police, Adjective – Sept. 29, 7:00
Featuring a provincial detective assigned to gather evidence on a teenager suspected of selling hash, Porumboiu’s second feature trades mindless action for meaningful philosophy in a radical deconstruction of the cop flick genre. The pace is deliberately slow—but make no mistake, you’ll get your payoff: The final “shootout” is as bloody as if guns had been used, proof that words can be as lethal as bullets.
2009. 113 m. NR.
First of All, Felicia – Oct. 3, 7:15
The directorial debut of the acclaimed screenwriter of The Death of Mr. Lazarescu unfolds almost in real time, chronicling in great detail the convoluted relations between a mother and daughter, home for the holidays. A touching account of the inevitable toxicity of family relations, the ceaseless, painful fight for affection, and how, by making the past an accomplice, we destroy or reshape our feelings. Razvan Radulescu/Melissa de Raaf. 2009. 108 m. NR.
The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu – Oct. 4, 5:00
This unusual documentary works like a fiction film, but with real characters. It’s almost hypnotic in its fluidity and precision: no tricks, no voiceovers, no inserts, just archival footage (most of it rarely or never seen before) telling the story of the rise and fall of the Romanian communist dictator from an intriguing directorial perspective. A New York Film Festival selection. Andrei Ujica. 2010. 180 m.
Q&A director Andrei Ujica with guest curator Mihai Chirilov
Romanian Shorts Program – Oct. 5, 7:00
Including: Cigarettes and Coffee (Cristi Puiu, 2004), Liviu’s Dream (Corneliu Porumboiu, 2004), Stop Over (Ioana Uricaru, 2010), The Cage (Adrian Sitaru, 2010), Stuck on Christmas (Iulia Rugina, 2010) Coffee and cigarettes, a ghost, a stolen wallet, a dying bird, and a delayed train trigger the crises in these five acclaimed short films, all aiming to depict a realistic portrayal of present-day Romania. The extended Liviu’s Dream is possibly the best of the bunch, an expression of a free country lost in transition from its totalitarian past. Total running time: approx. 120 m.
California Dreamin’ – Oct. 6, 7:00
A NATO gun shipment supervised by an American officer is crossing Romania by train, but is blocked by a stubborn rural station official who objects to the lack of accompanying documents. Displaying an infectious rock ‘n’ roll vitality, Nemescu’s posthumous debut feature is an epic farce touching on cultural misunderstanding, corruption, vengeance, and—last but not least—the American dream. Cristian Nemescu. 2007. 155 m. NR.
Cristi Puiu – A special look at the filmmaker who started it all for the Romanian New Wave, including Stuff and Dough, The Death of Mr. Lazarescu, and Aurora
Stuff and Dough – Sept. 30, 7:30
Ten years ago, this coming-of-age road movie took Romanian cinema out of the black corner into which
it had painted itself, launching a new wave of young filmmakers. Stuff and Dough tells the suspenseful story of a one-day trip that changes its hero’s life. It is a movie about compromise, survival, and adaptation that doesn’t teach any lessons—but audiences learn a lot from it anyway. Cristi Puiu. 2001. 91 m. NR.
The Death of Mr. Lazarescu – Oct. 1, 7:15
Based on real events, Puiu’s second feature is about the agonizing last hours of an old man taken from one hospital to another in search of proper medical care. Although potentially depressing, this literally bumpy ride (shot entirely with a handheld camera) unfolds like a black comedy about the human condition—and it proves to be not only optimistic, but fully universal. Despite having “death” in its title, this is the film that vigorously put Romania on the movie world map. Cristi Puiu. 2005. 154 m. R.
Aurora – Oct. 2, 4:30
After a five-year gap since his worldwide breakthrough with The Death of Mr. Lazarescu, screenwriter-director Cristi Puiu turns actor—with no safety net—in this disturbing study of contemporary Romanian society. This is no typical portrait of a serial killer. There’s nothing spectacular in his multiple acts of murder, and clean-cut explanations are elusive, despite final resolution. Cristi Puiu. 2010. 181 m. NR.
*All films are in Romanian with subtitles.
The Jacob Burns Film Center (JBFC) is a nonprofit cultural arts organization dedicated to presenting the best of independent, documentary, and world cinema; promoting 21st century literacy; and making film a vibrant part of the community. Located on a 47,500 sq. foot, three-building campus in the center of Pleasantville, the JBFC is just 30 miles outside of New York City. Since its opening in 2001, over 1,000,000 people have seen over 4,500 films from more than 40 countries. To learn more about the Jacob Burns Film Center and Media Arts Lab, visit burnsfilmcenter.org.