Romanian New Wave – 5 top films

Independent Ethos

Romanian New Wave graphic by Ana Morgenstern

Cinema is one of those art mediums that can succinctly introduce us to the zeitgeist of a particular country. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Romania has experienced a filmmaking revival that captures a culture in transition with deep attachments to the past and mixed emotions about capitalism. Young Romanian filmmakers are not subtle about their statements. This new crop of films tend to be raw, shot in a naturalistic style and seldom adorned with fancy soundtracks or special effects. In fact, recent films have a hyper-realistic or cinéma vérité character. Some might argue it could be the transparency of the films’ low budgets. However, the minimalist aesthetic is a choice that is part of the narrative, portraying a lived-in austerity that also heightens human drama.

The shift from the USSR to a type of capitalist system has in fact created a state of confusion where embedded practices such as favors, clientelism and…

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