Archive for the ‘Romania’ Category

Happy Birthday, Anamaria Marinca!

April 1, 2010

The Last-Minute ND/NF 2010 Preview, Part 1: Amer to El hombre de al lado

March 24, 2010

Continuing the tradition of previews which are barely posted before the first film premieres and then go entirely unread, we present to you the first part of our New Directors/New Films survey. The annual smorgasbord, organized by the Film Society of Lincoln Center, cherry-picks the festivals for the best work by first-time filmmakers. What isn’t so nice is the old couple sat behind you who keep up a running commentary throughout each film. But that’s life on the Upper West Side. In the first part of our preview, we throw some alliterative phrases at dramas set in Muslim Detroit and Iran’s border, while Bill Cunningham and Candy Darling present two different views of the greatest city in the world. Hit those titles to watch trailers and more.


For their debut feature, experimental filmmakers Helene Cattet and Bruno Forzani turned to the giallo thrillers of Dario Argento and Mario Bava for inspiration. This isn’t just a spooky movie, but a coming-of-age film, as Ana suffers extreme situations at three key life stages. Amer–French for “bitter”–is less about narrative than immersing the audience in a senses-shattering sexual awakening. Game on!

Beautiful Darling: The Life and Times of Candy Darling, Andy Warhol Superstar

At Andy Warhol’s Factory, stars-in-their-minds learned how to become real works of art. So any portrait of a Superstar has a certain sideshow interest. Famed for a reference in Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side,” Darling turned herself from a Massapequa scamp into a blonde glamour queen who adorned Warhol’s films and even a Tennessee Williams play. Chloe Sevigny reads the late idol’s letters in James Rasin’s doc.


Berlin 2010 Preview: Competition, Part 1

February 3, 2010

The Berlin Film Festival is often overshadowed by Cannes Film Festival as it’s very difficult to dock a yacht in Berlin. It’s endured for 60 years, though, as an early warning system for the best of the year’s international art house fare. The Competition strand features those films vying for the Golden Bear, which in past years has gone to Jose Padilha’s The Elite Squad and Claudia Llosa’s The Milk of Sorrow. The field’s first half features Japanese war stories, the making of one of the worst films ever made, criminals old and young and the returns of Polanski, Baumbach and Popogrebsky.

Bal (Honey)

Turkish director Semih Kaplanoglu’s fifth film is a father/son story set in the remote mountains. Young Yusuf is ostracized at school for his stammer, but worships his beekeeper dad, who tends to a network of precarious treetop hives. When his father is called away on business, Yusuf follows him into the forest.

Kyatapira (Caterpillar)

Lieutenant Kurokawa returns from the front of the second Sino-Japanese War. He’s had his arms and legs blown off. Shigeko is expected to dutifully attend to her immobile war hero husband. Director Koji Wakamatsu’s previous film, the acclaimed United Red Army, still awaits release in the U.S. Based on the story by Edogawa Rampo, which was censored by the Japanese authorities in 1939.


Trailerama: Eu când vreau sa fluier, fluier (If I Want To Whistle, I Whistle)

January 20, 2010

The Romanian film boom continues with this prison drama from first-time director Florin Serban. George Pistereanu plays a teenage inmate who becomes involved with an attractive intern (Ada Condeescu) and dreams of escape. His regimented existence gets increasingly complicated as his day of release gets closer. Set to premiere at the 2010 Berlin Film Festival.

Trailerama: Cea mai fericita fata din lume (The Happiest Girl in the World)

May 7, 2009

Country lass Delia (Andrea Bosneag) wins a soda-sponsored contest and travels with her family to Bucharest to collect the big prize–a new car. The organisers will only cough up the car when the lucky winner participates in a commercial. Delia and her parents are at odds over what to do with their spoils, and collecting the automobile in the big city becomes fraught with mirthful satire. Radu Jude is the director whose debut feature is yet another sign of the Romanian cinema’s vitality. Written by Jude with Augustina Stanciu, who also functioned as art director on the production.

Trailerama: Katalin Varga

February 20, 2009

British filmmaker Peter Strickland beats the Eastern Europeans at their own game with this Romanian tale whose telling owes plenty to Tarkovsky and Sokurov. The past comes a-knockin’ for a Transylvanian rapist. Worth watching with the headphones on. Gabor ifj. Erdelyi and Gyorgy Kovacs’ sound design is something to hear.