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Pitt Hosts Film Series, “Romanian Cinema on the Edge”

de (18-10-2007)

Pitt Hosts Film Series, “Romanian Cinema on the Edge”
Films confront Communist regime and its aftermath

PITTSBURGH-”The Reenactment,” one of the earliest attempts at criticizing Romania’s Communist regime through aesthetic expression, will kick off a film series, titled “Romanian Cinema on the Edge,” at 7 p.m. Oct. 18, Bellefield Hall Auditorium, 315 S. Bellefield Ave., Oakland.

In addition to “The Reenactment,” which was made under the Communist regime, the series features a younger generation of filmmakers whose films focus on the Revolution of 1989 and on the social, economic, and interpersonal relationships that resulted from Romania’s transition to capitalism. According to the organizers, the title of the series alludes to the “edgy styles” that dominate these movies, as well as to a national cinema that is “on the edge of well-deserved recognition, or just over the edge!”

“These are in-your-face stories that spare neither viewer nor characters,” said Irina Livezeanu, associate professor of East European Studies in Pitt’s Department of History in the School of Arts and Sciences and the film series’ curator. “The films are intense, gritty, low-budget productions through which the unglamorous realities of the ‘transition’ period are stared down. They focus on familiar characters in recognizable circumstances, in which Romanian audiences can see themselves.”

All films will be shown free of charge at 7 p.m. in Bellefield Hall Auditorium. A schedule for the screenings follows.

Oct. 18 “The Reenactment” (Lucian Pintilie, 1968). Banned shortly after its release and not shown again in Romania until after the fall of Communism, this movie is a critique of socialist realism and a reflection of the cruelty of the Communist authorities, amplified by people’s indifference to the drama of others and by their ultimate inability to prevent it.

Oct. 19 “Stuff and Dough” (Cristi Puiu, 2001). When Ovidiu is asked by a powerful family friend to deliver a package to Bucharest, in exchange for $2,000, he has no idea that the delivery will make him the target of violence.

Oct. 25 “The Paper Will Be Blue” (Radu Muntean, 2006). The film reconstitutes the bleak atmosphere in Romania during the revolution of December 1989, focusing on a moment when the long-awaited fall of the Communist regime was still in question.

Oct. 26 “12:08 East of Bucharest” (Corneliu Porumboiu, 2006). On the 16th anniversary of Romania’s revolution, a small town journalist plans a discussion about the uprising on his daily talk show “Issue of the Day.” The live debate turns into a confrontation between the two guests and callers contesting the guests’ claims.

Nov. 1 “Occident” (Cristian Mungiu, 2002). This film captures the difficult interpersonal relationships of the young generation during the post-Communist era. The backdrop of all three intertwined stories is the fantasy of escaping to the West. Mungiu’s film, “4 Months, 3 weeks & 2 days,” won The Palme d’Or at Cannes this year.

Nov. 2 “California Dreamin’” (Cristian Nemescu, 2007). Inspired by an actual incident during the War in Kosovo in 1999, “California Dreamin’” is a drama that illustrates Romanians’ fascination with the American dream.

The “Romanian Cinema on the Edge” film series is sponsored by the University of
Pittsburgh’s Office of the Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, the Department of
History, the Graduate Program for Cultural Studies, the Film Studies Program, the Center for Russian and East European Studies, The Pittsburgh Romanian Studies Group, and the
Romanian Cultural Institute of New York, with assistance from the Romanian National Center for Cinematography.

In conjunction with the film series, the Romanian film critic Alex Leo Serban will give a talk, “A Romanian New Wave in Cinema?” at 4 p.m. Oct. 19, in Room 501, Cathedral of Learning, 4200 Fifth Ave.

For more information, contact Irina Livezeanu at 412-648-7466 or


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