What About Romanian Films?

After two interviews with the Romanian public, we crossed the Romanian borders and talked with people outside Romania. We know that Romanian films did pretty well for themselves in international film festivals, but not everyone follows what’s happening at film festivals. So, we started from general to particular, from “Do you enjoy watching films?” to “What about Romanian films?”

I enjoy watching films but I don’t know anything about Romanian films. (H.S., 22, student, Germany)

I love film, not only is it (in my opinion) the most engaging visual art form we have in today’s society, it is also the most introspective and accessible. Cinematography, in particular, I find incredibly powerful and inspiring.

 I have very little experience with Romanian cinema, therefore I could not say I enjoy nor dislike the movement without enough prior knowledge and experience. My only real experience of Romanian cinema so far has been what my friends have shown me, clips from old films, prior to the rise of contemporary independent filmmaking. (A.T., 24, media producer, United Kingdom)

Yes, I enjoy watching films and TV series as well. However, I cannot recall any Romanian film I have ever watched. (R.G., 24, media MA student, Bulgaria)

I enjoy cinema but know little about Romanian cinema. I was very impressed by an outstanding performance by the Romanian actor Marcel Iures in Hart’s War (2002). (J.F., 57, retired civil servant, Ireland)

Absolutely yes! Unfortunately, I did not watch any Romanian films yet but I am willing to watch some. (A.G., 35, media MA student, Oman)

I recently discover Romanian films and I find them very interesting. (M.D.M., 40, performer, visual artist, Italy)

I love watching films, of all different types of genre, style or from different cultures, unfortunately, I’ve not as of yet managed to watch a Romanian film. (L.B., 28, media MA student, United Kingdom)

Yes, it’s part of my leisure time. When I was a child, I watched it. It’s quite old. (Y.Z., 29, student, China)

I enjoy watching films. I have not watched any Romanian film except one documentary about Romania and It was by the French Canal+, not Romanians. (A.U., 31, media MA student, communication professional and writer, Republic of Rwanda)

Given that we did not know what their answers will be, we had to ask 1. If they know anything about Romanian film, and  2. If they can (maybe) give us a title (or two, but that might be a bit too optimistic) + impressions.

 1. I have not had the chance to know more about it but through friends, I came to know that it is a growing industry. (A.U., 31, media MA student, communication professional and writer, Republic of Rwanda)

 1. I just know a little of them. It’s all about the World War II or the communist period. I watched it on local and national TV channel. They imported them and translated them.

 2. I watched two of them which are The Last Bullet (Ultimul cartus, 1973) and The Waves of the Danube (Valurile Dunǎrii, 1959). (Y.Z., 29, student, China)

 1. Unfortunately, I would consider my knowledge of Romanian films to be very limited, however from what I understand the nation is experiencing a rebirth of cinema through independent filmmaking. Prior to this, the national style for film was rooted in a certain degree of melancholy, social realism. A reflection of hardships, communities and family, therefore the stories were often situated within related settings.

 I first learned about Romanian cinema through friends and colleagues who were originally from Romania. Ergo my knowledge and understanding is largely based on what has been said and shown to me.

 2. Only clips of old films whose names I couldn’t honestly remember! (A.T., 24, media producer, United Kingdom)

1. I don’t know a lot about Romanian films, to be honest, but I have heard that they are intimate films, in the way that they deal with dramatic and real everyday situations, that they are very relatable, this is what a Romanian friend of mine explained them to me as.

2. Sadly I have not been able to watch a Romanian film. (L.B., 28, media MA student, United Kingdom)

 2. I once watched a film when in Bucharest. Some kind of historic movie. It was weird. A Romanian friend of mine proposed to go there. (H.S., 22, student, Germany)

 1. As mentioned above I haven’t watched such films, therefore, I couldn’t say I know something specific about Romanian cinema. (R.G., 24, media MA student, Bulgaria)

1.Not so much, but I knew Paul Stefanescu, an amateur filmmaker and I start to love his video making style.

 2. I love mostly the characters; the intensity of the faces, the rude atmospheres, the theme of the films. (M.D.M., 40, performer, visual artist, Italy)

 1. I know that Romanian films and their directors received the Palme d’Or on several occasions in the past. That young directors like Mungiu and Puiu are very appreciated. From news on TV or articles on the internet.

 2. From what I have seen of Romanian film prior to 1989, I noticed the films are a blend of the traditional and the modern. And the divide between rural and urban ways of life. (J.F., 57, retired civil servant, Ireland)

 1. I don’t know anything yet. (A.G., 35, media MA student, Oman)

We cannot say that we were surprised by their answers, but what brightened up our day were the positive answers to the last question:

Do you want to learn more about Romanian film (and implicitly watch a few Romanian films)?

 Yes, I would be interested in seeing Romanian films with subtitles in English, rather than dubbed in English. (J.F., 57, retired civil servant, Ireland)

I would like to know some of the latest films from Romanian, but I do not have any way to know them because they are a minority on our channels. In addition, there are no Chinese subtitles; I think this is a key reason for why we only know so few of them. (Y.Z., 29, student, China)

I would be interested to learn more about Romanian film, I am a fan of films, and the opportunity to experience a whole new type of cinema and film is quite an exciting prospect. (L.B., 28, media MA student, United Kingdom)

Yes. I think Romania is a beautiful country with creative and warm people. Adding this to movies could be interesting. Furthermore, movies from another country can teach one a lot about that specific culture and mentality. (H.S., 22, student, Germany)

I would indeed be open to learning more about Romanian cinema, particularly to see the development in style and content coming from independent film-makers, and what their contributions are to European cinema. (A.T., 24, media producer, United Kingdom)

Yes, why not. If I learn something new it might lead me to discover a different kind of aesthetics and I expect the Romanian cinema to be an alternative to the mainstream Hollywood production. (R.G., 24, media MA student, Bulgaria)

Of course, sure! I would love to know more about Romanian films. (S.D., 24, media MA student, Cyprus)

I am interested in cultural diversity and cinema; for that reason, I would be happy to know about Romanian films to compare with other film industry and to enjoy their unique contribution to the international cinema industry. (A.U., 31, media MA student, communication professional and writer, Republic of Rwanda)

Well for those of you who have Romanian friends, maybe you should start asking for film recommendations, but just as a “safety measure” we leave here the link to CINEPUB, a website where you can find Romanian films. Whit English subtitles! (Unfortunately, with Chinese will be a bit harder).

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