Romanian Film Festival: Tribeca Cinemas, through December 2, 2007
There's a very juicy item in this program: Lucian Pintilie's first feature Reconstruction (or Reenactment) (1968), screening Sunday at 7:30 pm. I've never had an opportunity to see any of Pintilie's work before The Oak (1992) - and actually there wasn't that much work from him before that, as he sat out most of the Ceaucescu regime in Paris. I consider Pintilie a major dude - I'm an especially big fan of his An Unforgettable Summer (1994) - and I'll be there Sunday night with bells on.
If you're feeling adventurous, you might also check out Mircea Daneliuc's Jacob (1988) on Saturday at 12:30 pm. Daneliuc has talent, but I'm not sure yet how much: I rather liked his Mike Test (1980), was less excited about The Conjugal Bed (1993).
We've already missed the festival screening of Cristian Mungiu's Palme d'Or winner 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, but IFC has picked that up for American theatrical distribution. However, the program includes Mungiu's previous feature Occident (2002), screening on Sunday at 1 pm, and a collection of his short films, screening on Friday at 6 pm and Saturday at 8 pm. I had both good and bad feelings about 4 Months, but I'm curious to learn more about the guy.
The festival is also an opportunity to catch the late Cristian Nemescu's California Dreamin', which won the Un Certain Regard award at Cannes this year, on Friday at 8 pm and Saturday at 3 pm. The festival is screening the "Endless" (a mistranslation of "unfinished") 155-minute version, with Nemescu did not live to finish editing; word on the street is that the film will eventually circulate in a version shortened by Nemescu's collaborators, but purists may want to grab this opportunity. Here's what I wrote about the film in my Toronto wrapup at Senses of Cinema:
"Twenty nine-year-old Romanian director Cristian Nemescu was killed in a car accident during the editing of his feature debut California Dreamin'. His post-production team finished his rough cut, titled California Dreamin' (Nesfarsit), and screened it at Cannes, where it won the Un Certain Regard award. An ambitious farce about an American captain (Armand Assante) and his troops stranded in a small Romanian town by a stubborn, corrupt railway chief (Razvan Vasilescu) during the Kosovo conflict, Dreamin’ is practically an homage to Billy Wilder’s sprawling comedies, with the bewildered Americans at the mercy of the Romanians’ criss-crossing objectives, including the political maneuvering of the mayor (Ion Sapdaru) and the romantic schemes of the railway chief’s daughter (Maria Dinulescu). Nemescu and his co-writers Catherine Linstrum and Tudor Voican successfully mimic Wilder’s flair for topical reference and his vision of a world driven by self-interest. And, truth be told, Nemescu’s filmmaking skills are considerably more supple than Wilder’s: he’s a confident action director, has a great eye, handles erotic scenes with enthusiasm and, above all, has an instinct for how to use naturalism as a counterbalance to farce. Dreamin’ should have been, and probably would have been, much shorter than 155 minutes: as it stands, it assembles so much digressive material that the story’s momentum is weakened. While less than a complete success, the existing cut is an amazing calling card for a director who might have been more than a footnote to film history had he lived a few more months."