By the Romanian Film Festival Seattle staff
This year’s festival celebrates 30 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall by bringing you Romanian and Eastern European cinema echoing the political, economic, and existential dilemmas that have reshaped Europe in the aftermath of the Cold War. Bounced OFF a wall that divided families, generations and nations, these stories harness the unifying power of film to create new bridges, in a universal quest for shared meaning. Passes and Tickets are available at: SIFF.net
The Romanian Film Festival Seattle staff got together and picked some recommendations from the Scarecrow Video catalog to pair with selections from the festival:
At Scarecrow, rent: Tales from the Golden Age (2009), Directed by Hanno Höfer; Razvan Marculescu; Cristian Mungiu; Constantin Popescu; and Ioana Uricaru. This anthology dramatize several urban legends of Communist Romania.
At the festival, see The Distance Between Me and Me (2018), Directed by Mona Nicoară. Nina Cassian was a Communist during WWII which gave her prominence in the Stalinist era, then made her collide with the Ceaușescu regime, and eventually sent her into a New York exile. This documentary sets Nina’s words against a rich archive of never-before-seen private recordings, and secret police surveillance materials.
At Scarecrow, rent: The Way I Spent the End of the World (2006), Directed by Cãtãlin Mitulescu. Set in 1989 in communist-era Romania, this drama shows people living with hope for a new life of freedom.
At the festival, see That Trip We Took With Dad (2019), Directed by Anca Miruna Lăzărescu. The turbulent year of the “Prague Spring” sets the scene for the moving story of this film in which two brothers take their father to have surgery abroad. Caught in the middle of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, the men suddenly find themselves in West-Germany. Winner of 8 international prizes, including Federico Fellini Award, Tiburon International Film Festival, 2017.
At Scarecrow, rent: 12:08 East of Bucharest (2006), Directed by Corneliu Porumboiu, about a local talk show host organizes an alcoholic professor and a pensioner known for playing Santa Claus to decide whether there was ever a revolution in their town Vaslui.
At the festival, see The Whistlers (2019), Directed by Corneliu Porumboiu. Embarking with the beautiful Gilda on a high-stakes heist, a police inspector Cristi will have to navigate the twists and turns of corruption, treachery, and deception. A trip to the Canary Islands to learn a secret whistling language might just be what they need to pull it off. Nominated for a Palme d’Or at Cannes in 2019; Romania’s submission for the 2020 Oscars.
At Scarecrow, rent Maidan (2014), Directed by Sergey Loznitsa. A documentary about the 2013 and 2014 civil unrest in the Ukrainian capital’s central square.
At the festival, see Donbass (2018), Directed by Sergey Loznitsa. In this feature film inspired by real events, war is called peace, propaganda is uttered as truth, and hatred is declared to be love. This is not a tale of one region, one country, or one political system. It is about a world lost in post-truth and fake identities. Winner of 9 international prizes, including Un Certain Regard, Cannes, 2018.
At Scarecrow, rent The Death of Mr Lãzãrescu (2005), Directed by Cristi Puiu, about the corruption and lack of care in local hospitals in Romania. Mr. Lãzãrescu, a dying old man, is shuttled from hospital to hospital by a loyal paramedic as doctors refuse to operate and no one can agree on a diagnosis.
At the festival, see the Moldovan Stories shorts block, which includes One More, One Less (2018), Directed by Ion Borsh. This drama tells the story of a resident doctor who discovers a case of malpractice, done by a colleague. He decides to fight against the awful system, risking his job.