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Making Waves: New Romanian Cinema comes back for the 13th edition: November 26-December 5

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Highlights include festival winners Touch Me Not and I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians, a new wave of films by women directors, and a focus on the darkly satirical work of internationally acclaimed auteur Radu Jude
 

The Romanian Film Initiative, The Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), and the Jacob Burns Film Center are proud to present the 13th edition of Making Waves: New Romanian Cinema, to run November 26-December 5. The survey of new Romanian cinema has been hailed by the Wall Street Journal as having “helped define and establish the southeastern European country as a stronghold of socially incisive, independently minded personal cinema.”

Mihai Chirilov, Artistic Director of Making Waves: New Romanian Cinema, states, “Following last year’s focus on Anca Damian, who returns this year with her latest mystery puzzle Moon Hotel Kabul, the 13th edition of Making Waves gives space to the brand new wave of female directors in Romanian cinema, with a program that opens the festival at BAM.” He continues, “The line up includes two of the most controversial films of 2018 — Adina Pintilie’s bare exploration of intimacy Touch Me Not and Ivana Mladenovic’s gay drama SoldiersA Story from Ferentari — the program also features three illuminating documentaries on Romania’s history: Monica Lăzurean-Gorgan’s mordant satire about the rise of nationalism, Free Dacians, Ana Dumitrescu’s touching portrayal of a centennial man who has seen it all, Licu, A Romanian Story, and The Distance Between Me and Me, Mona Nicoară and Dana Bunescu’s personal account of art and politics, fuelled by the convoluted destiny of dissident poet and icon Nina Cassian.”

“The work that the Romanian Film Initiative does to preserve and promote Romanian film internationally is unparalleled,” writes Gina M. Duncan, Associate Vice President for Cinema, BAM. “It's an especially strong year for Romanian films and we are excited that this edition of the program features a focus on women filmmakers and including the U.S. premiere of Touch Me Not which won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival.”

The only Romanian director to receive an award at Sundance (for The Tube With a Hat, one of his numerous shorts), Radu Jude took a spectacular turn with his extremely popular third film Aferim! After two contemporary family dramas that employed the trademark stripped-down social realism of the Romanian New Wave (the darkly funny The Happiest Girl in the World and Everybody in Our Family), Jude went back in time to tell this Western-like tale of Gypsy slavery in the 19th century. His interest in the darkest pages of Romania’s history — and specifically the issue of anti-Semitism — grew with his subsequent works (the essay-doc The Dead Nation and his literary adaptation of Max BlecherScarred Hearts), reaching an artistic zenith with his extravagant new work, “I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians, which kicks off this focus showcasing all Jude’s feature length films to date, presented at BAM.

In addition to “I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians” and the Golden Bear-winning Touch Me Not, the New Releases showcase at the Jacob Burns Film Center highlights the ever-growing diversity of New Romanian Cinema: from Constantin Popescu’s slow-burning thriller Pororoca, and its maddening quest for a missing child, to Andrei Crețulescu’s strange mix of black comedy and retro melodrama Charlestonfrom Daniel Sandu’s autobiographical coming of age story, the box-office hit One Step Behind the Seraphim (winner of several Gopo Awards, the Romanian Oscars), to Paul Negoescu’s light-hearted rom-com, The Story of a Summer Lover. Last but not least, there is a screening of veteran film-maker Alexandru Solomon’s fascinating and multi-layered documentary, Tarzans Testicles,  which examines the troubled state of Abkhazia through the prism of a primate-breeding institute.

Corina Șuteu, Festival President, states, “Making Waves is a film festival more necessary than ever, as it presents in an independent spirit the most recent auteur films. More and more subdued by standard advertising and by a taste for easy entertainment, contemporary audiences are in need of art – as a channel for contrasted emotions and feelings. This is what the Romanian Film Festival in New York brings to the American public – quality, crafty, challenging art!”

This year’s festival also focuses on the intersection between film and literature. Following the screening of “I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians”, Romanian and Romanian-American writers Andrei CodrescuAndrei Crăciun and Carmen Firan will be in conversation with Corina Șuteu to discuss how fiction interprets historical events, and the manipulations and revelations that can occur as a result.  

Guests of this year’s festival include directors Adina Pintilie (Touch Me Not), Alexandru Solomon (Tarzans Testicles), Ivana Mladenovic (SoldiersA Story from Ferentari), Mona Nicoară (The Distance Between Me and Me), Monica Lăzurean-Gorgan (Free Dacians), Paul Negoescu (The Story of a Summer Lover), and director of photography Ana Drăghici (The Story of a Summer Lover). Special guest of the festival is Ada Solomon, producer of no less than ten films in this year’s lineup, including all the films of director in focus Radu Jude, with whom she has developed a strong creative collaboration.

As well as introducing these filmmakers’ voices to U.S audiences, Making Waves aims to help them connect to, and network within, the American film industry. For the second year running, an industry event will also accompany the festival screenings and gala events.

Making Waves was founded by the Romanian Film Initiative and is co-presented in partnership with BAM and the Jacob Burns Film Center. Co-founded in 2012 by Corina Șuteu, Mihai Chirilovand Oana Radu, the independent Romanian Film Initiative aims to preserve and enhance the festival’s critical and creative spirit.

Lead support for the 13th edition of Making Waves is provided by The Trust for Mutual Understanding, the Romanian National Film Center and the Filmmakers Union of Romania, along with numerous individual donors.

Schedule
 

Monday, November 26, 7:00 pm, BAM
Touch Me Not (125m). NR, DCP
 

Tuesday, November 27, 7:00 pm, BAM
Free Dacians (61m). NR, DCP
 

Tuesday, November 27, 9:00 pm, BAM
Licu, A Romanian Story (86m). NR, DCP
 

Wednesday, November 28, 7:00 pm, BAM
Moon Hotel Kabul (90m). NR, DCP
 

Wednesday, November 28, 9:00 pm, BAM
The Distance Between Me and Me (89m) [Preview Screening]
 

Thursday, November 29, 7:00 pm, BAM
Soldiers. A Story from Ferentari (119m). NR, DCP
 

Thursday, November 29, 7:00 pm, JBFC
I Do Not Care If We Go Down In History As Barbarians (138m). NR, DCP
 

Friday, November 30, 7:00 pm, BAM
I Do Not Care If We Go Down In History As Barbarians (138m). NR, DCP
 

Friday, November 30, 7:30 pm, JBFC
Touch Me Not (125m). NR, DCP
 

Saturday, December 1, 2:00 pm, BAM
The Dead Nation (83m). NR, DCP
 

Saturday, December 1, 4:30 pm, BAM
The Happiest Girl in the World (99m). NR, DCP
 

Saturday, December 1, 7:00 pm, BAM
Scarred Hearts (141m). NR, DCP
 

Saturday, December 1, 7:15 pm, JBFC
Tarzans Testicles (105m)
 

Sunday, December 2, 4:15 pm, BAM
Everybody in Our Family (107m). NR, DCP
 

Sunday, December 2, 5:00 pm, JBFC

Pororoca (152m). NR, DCP

 

Sunday, December 2, 6:30 pm, BAM
Aferim! (106m). NR, DCP
 

Monday, December 3, 7:00 pm, JBFC
One Step Behind the Seraphim (147m). NR, DCP
 

Tuesday, December 4, 7:30 pm, JBFC
Charleston (119m). NR, DCP

Wednesday, December 5, 7:00 pm, JBFC
The Story of a Summer Lover (100m). NR, DCP

Women Directors (BAM)
 

OPENING NIGHT
Touch Me Not
Mon, Nov 26, 7:00 pm

2018. 125 m. Adina Pintilie. NR. Romania/Czech Republic/France/Bulgaria/Germany. In English with English subtitles. A Kino Lorber Release.

New York Premiere
Director Adina Pintilie in attendance

“Tell me how you loved me, so I understand how to love.” This mantra reveals its meaning during this bold cinematic exploration of human intimacy. Highly tactile and unlike anything you’ve seen,Touch Me Not follows the emotional journey of the debut director Adina Pintilie and her three brave protagonists, walking the thin line between fiction and documentary. Craving intimacy yet deeply afraid of it, they work to overcome taboos so they can finally be free. Provocative, yet touched by an unexpected candor, this immersive tour de force won the top award at this year’s Berlinale. With plenty of nudity and sex, this film is unrated but is for adults only.


Free Dacians
Tue, Nov 27, 7:00 pm
2018. 61m. Monica Lăzurean-Gorgan & Andrei Gorgan. NR. Romania. In Romanian with English subtitles.
U.S. Premiere
Director Monica Lăzurean-Gorgan in attendance

Like the Romans in Italy and the Vikings in Scandinavia, the Dacian people who occupied much of ancient Eastern Europe continue to loom large in the imaginations of present-day Romanians. This humorous and engaging documentary sheds light on the enduring fascination with – and divergent opinions on – Dacian mythology through profiles of historians, researchers and role-players who express their passion for the culture through reenactment. 
 

Licu, A Romanian Story
Tue, Nov 27, 9:00 pm
2017. 86m. Ana Dumitrescu. NR. Romania. In Romanian with English subtitles.
U.S. Premiere

At 92 years old, Licu has seen and experienced entire worlds come and go, lived through war, peace, revolution, communism and post-communism. Alone with his memories, he reflects on his life, the passage of time and the last century of Romanian history as he has witnessed it. Strikingly shot in evocative black and white, this intimate documentary is both a poignant portrait of a life and a meditation on the ways in which the past suffuses the present. 


Moon Hotel Kabul
Wed, Nov 28, 7:00 pm
2018. 90m. Anca Damian. NR. Romania/France. In Romanian and English with English subtitles.
U.S. Premiere

One of Romania’s most restlessly innovative directors, Anca Damian (the focus of last year’s Making Waves spotlight) returns with this multilayered, puzzlebox inquiry into the elusive nature of truth. While on an assignment in Kabul, a cynical journalist’s world is turned upside down by the suicide of a woman with whom he had a one-night stand – plunging him into a dangerous investigation into the mystery of her life and death. 
 

The Distance Between Me and Me 
[Preview Screening]
Wed, November 28, 9:00 pm, BAM
2018. 89m. Mona Nicoară. NR. Romania. In Romanian with English subtitles. 
 

Poet, musician, intellectual and committed communist Nina Cassian wrestled for decades with the central contradiction of her life: How to reconcile her artistic ideals with the strict censorship imposed by Romania’s Communist Party – a tension that put her at odds with the totalitarian Ceaușescu regime and eventually led to her exile. Interweaving archival footage with first-hand interviews, this thought-provoking documentary illuminates the complex relationships between art, politics and personal truths.
 

Soldiers. A Story from Ferentari
Thu, Nov 29, 7:00 pm
2017. 119m. Ivana Mladenovic. NR. Romania/Serbia/Belgium. In Romanian with English subtitles.
U.S. Premiere
Director Ivana Mladenovic in attendance

An unexpected romance blossoms between two men amid a ramshackle Bucharest neighborhood in this tender, offbeat love story. When Adi, an anthropologist researching regional pop music, meets Alberto, a burly Roma ex-con, the two lonely souls enter into a relationship that tests the societal and moral taboos of their community. Documentarian Ivana Mladenovic brings a wonderfully loose-limbed, vérité naturalism to her auspicious narrative debut.

Director in Focus: Radu Jude (BAM)
 

I Do Not Care If We Go Down In History As Barbarians
Fri, Nov 30, 7:00 pm

2018. 140m. Radu Jude. NR. Romania/Czech Republic/France/Bulgaria/Germany. In Romanian with English subtitles.

Introduced by producer Ada Solomon & followed by a conversation with writers Andrei Codrescu, Andrei Crăciun and Carmen Firan 

A young activist artist is planning to stage a meticulous reenactment of a historical event from1941, when the Romanian Army carried out a notorious act of ethnic cleansing on the Eastern Front. In its bold exploration of one of the darkest pages of Romania’s history, and specifically the sensitive issue of anti-Semitism, this new fictional work from Radu Jude ingeniously touches on Hannah Arendt’s writings on the banality of evil and invites unexpected contemporary parallels. The result is a meta-drama about art versus reality and history repeating itself as farcethat hits the viewer with a strong emotional punch. This was Romania’s submission for the Oscar for Best Foreign Film.
 

The Dead Nation
Sat, Dec 1, 2:00 pm
2017. 83m. Radu Jude. NR. Romania. In Romanian with English subtitles.

Composed entirely of archival still photographs, this shattering docu-essay charts the rising tide of fascism and anti-Semitism in 1930s and 40s Romania. Contrasting the images – of everyday Romanians posing and smiling innocuously for the camera – with radio broadcasts and diary entries that document the offscreen horrors of Jewish persecution and genocide, Jude crafts a quietly radical, haunting reflection on national guilt and remembrance.
 

The Happiest Girl in the World
Sat, Dec 1, 4:30 pm

2009. 99m. Radu Jude. NR. Romania/Netherlands. In Romanian with English subtitles.
 

Radu Jude’s feature debut is a ruthlessly barbed satire of soulless capitalist opportunism in the age of branded content. After she wins a contest sponsored by a fruit juice company, an ordinary teenager is tapped to star in a commercial as “the luckiest, happiest girl in the world.” It turns out she’s anything but, as the situation spirals into tragicomic absurdity.

 

Scarred Hearts
Sat, Dec 1, 7:00 pm
2016. 141m. Radu Jude. NR. Romania/Germany. In Romanian with English subtitles. A Big World Pictures Release.
Producer Ada Solomon and director/actress Ivana Mladenovic in attendance

 

A film about death that is, nevertheless, vigorously alive, Jude’s adaptation of an autobiographical novel by modernist writer Max Blecher is a mordantly funny portrait of 1930s Romanian society. While confined to a sanitarium, a gravely ill Jewish poet finds unexpected camaraderie among his fellow patients, who battle their bleak surroundings through passionate philosophical debate, drunken revelry and romantic escapades –  even as political chaos engulfs the world outside their walls.

 

Everybody in Our Family
Sun, Dec 2, 4:15 pm
2012. 107m. Radu Jude. NR. Romania/Netherlands. In Romanian with English subtitles.
 

A domestic row blows up in spectacular fashion in this alternately farcical and savagely realistic drama of epic family dysfunction. Blocked from taking his daughter on a long-planned trip, a divorced dad goes off-the-rails ballistic, igniting a volatile situation that spirals from absurd to scarily unhinged. Jude’s bracing second feature is pure Romanian New Wave, shot through with the distinctive mix of gritty naturalism and grim satire that defines the movement.

 

Aferim!
Sun, Dec 2, 6:30 pm
2015. 106m. Radu Jude. NR. Romania/Bulgaria/Czech Republic. In Romanian with English subtitles. A Big World Pictures Release.
Producer Ada Solomon in attendance
 

Jude’s international breakthrough is a picaresque odyssey through 19th-century Romania, which tackles one of the most shameful episodes in the country’s history: the enslavement of the Roma people. As a bounty hunter and his son scour the mountains for a fugitive slave, they are thrown into a series of encounters by turns scathingly funny and horrifying. Stunningly shot in glimmering, widescreen black and white, Aferimplays like a classic Western spring-loaded with cutting social commentary.


New Releases (Jacob Burns Film Center)
 

I Do Not Care If We Go Down In History As Barbarians
Thu, Nov 29, 7:00 pm
Producer Ada Solomon in attendance

 

Touch Me Not
Fri, Nov 30, 7:30 pm

 

Tarzans Testicles
Sat, Dec 1, 7:15 pm
2017. 105 m. Alexandru Solomon. NR. Romania/France. In Russian with subtitles.
U.S. Premiere
Director Alexandru Solomon in attendance

 

At the end of the 1920s the Soviets built a medical research center in Sukhumi, the capital of today’s Abkhazia – a self-proclaimed nation of fewer than 250,000 inhabitants that is recognized by only a handful of countries – aiming to crossbreed humans and apes. The experiments proved unsuccessful, but people and animals still live together in the dilapidated institution to this very day. Venturing into the disputed territory marked by socio-political turmoil, Alexandru Solomon’s fascinating documentary ponders the relationship between humans and other primates in order to investigate the destructive influence of dogma and the role of faith and ethics in scientific research.


Pororoca
Sun, Dec 2, 5:00 pm
2017. 152 m. Constantin Popescu. NR. Romania/France. In Romanian with English subtitles.
New York Premiere

It is every loving parent’s worst nightmare: the devastating disappearance of a beloved child, and then their desperate struggle to stay sane while trying to save their marriage. The long scene in which the little girl goes missing in a park full of people is a movie in itself, masterfully staged by Constantin Popescu (Tales from the Golden Age), and challenges us to pinpoint the exact moment when everything goes wrong. It makes for intense viewing that is only more visceral thanks to Bogdan Dumitrache’s raw performance playing the father consumed with guilt and obsession.
 

One Step Behind the Seraphim
Mon, Dec 3, 7:00 pm
2017. 147m. Daniel Sandu. NR. Romania. In Romanian with English subtitles.
New York Premiere
Producer Ada Solomon in attendance

A 15-year-old who wants to become a priest is admitted to a Romanian Orthodox seminary, only to realize that the system is totally rotten. Trying to fit in but eventually caught in a power struggle between a two-faced priest (the ever excellent Vlad Ivanov, also seen in Dogs and 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) and a crooked secular teacher, the student-turned-rebel learns that lying, cheating and betraying are the tools he has to acquire in order to survive the abusive institution. Inspired by first-time director Daniel Sandu’s experience in a similar seminary, this is a captivating coming-of-age movie of epic proportions with an ambivalent religious twist.
 

Free for JBFC members! Tickets available online or at the box office.
Join us for light refreshments at our Member Mingle, Dec. 3, 5:30-7:30 in the Jane Peck Gallery.
 

Charleston
Tue, Dec 4, 7:30 pm
2017. 119 m. Andrei Crețulescu. NR. Romania/France. In Romanian with English subtitles.
New York Premiere

A few weeks after his wife is fatally struck by a car, a grumpy chain-smoking man in his forties celebrates his birthday drunk and alone when he receives a surprise visit. His guest is his wife’s former lover, a shy younger man having trouble coping with his own grief. Starting with a couple of punches and ending with a bittersweet handshake, Andrei Cretulescu’s wry and entertaining pas-de-deux about vulnerable masculinity and finding closure moves swiftly, and is enriched with cinephilia, black humor, vivid Technicolor-style imagery and resonant musical choices.
 

The Story of a Summer Lover
Wed, Dec 5, 7:00 pm
2018. 100 m. Paul Negoescu. NR. Romania/Bulgaria. In Romanian with English subtitles.
U.S. Premiere
Director Paul Negoescu and Director of Photography Ana Drăghici in attendance

The eponymous summer lover is a forty-something math professor who seemingly has it all: a satisfying career, close friends and an open relationship with his girlfriend. Despite his freedom, he decides to break up with her – and discovers that she is pregnant and actually wants to dump him. This is the beginning of Paul Negoescu’s charming urban romantic comedy, a light-hearted investigation of a male psyche in crisis with a satisfying nod to Woody Allen’s classic neurotic love stories, in which the city of Bucharest shines throughout. 

 

Screening Venues:
BAM: Peter Jay Sharp Building, BAM Rose Cinemas, 30 Lafayette Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217
JBFC: Jacob Burns Film Center, 364 Manville Rd., Pleasantville, NY 10570
 

Tickets:
BAM: General admission: $15, Members: $7.50, Students & Seniors: $11. Visitwww.bam.org/film for more information.
Jacob Burns Film Center: General admission: $14, Members: $9. For the opening night screening, followed by a reception, tickets are $10 (members), $15 (nonmembers). Visitburnsfilmcenter.org for more information. 

The Romanian Film Initiative (RFI) was formed in 2012 to safeguard the existence and the spirit of the Romanian film festival in New York, rebranded as Making Waves: New Romanian Cinema, and co-presented with the Film Society of Lincoln Center. Created by Corina Șuteu, Mihai Chirilov and Oana Radu, the core team that initiated and organized the festival since 2006, RFI is a flagship of Film ETC. Association in Bucharest. Along with the continuation and expansion of Making Waves, RFI aims to develop and contribute to other projects interested in promoting Romanian cinema in the U.S., and the professionalization of the cultural sector, both in Romania and internationally. www.filmetc.org

BAM Film. Since 1998 BAM Rose Cinemas has been Brooklyn’s home for alternative, documentary, art-house and independent films. Combining new releases with a year-round repertory program, the four-screen venue hosts new and rarely seen contemporary films, classics, work by local artists and festivals of films from around the world, often with special appearances by directors, actors and other guests. Since 2009, the program has also produced BAMcinemaFest, New York’s home for American independent film, and has championed the work of filmmakers like Janicza Bravo, Andrew Dosunmu, Lena Dunham and Alex Ross Perry.www.bam.org/film
 

The Jacob Burns Film Center (JBFC) is a nonprofit cultural arts organization dedicated to presenting the best of independent, documentary and world cinema, promoting 21st-century literacy, and making film a vibrant part of the community. Located on a 47,500 sq. foot, three-building campus in the center of Pleasantville, the JBFC is just 30 miles outside of New York City. Since its opening in 2001, over 2,000,000 people have seen over 5,400 films from more than 40 countries. The campus includes the 27,000 sq. foot Media Arts Lab, the JBFC’s state-of-the-art education center, a creative and educational community for storytellers in the digital age, offering one-time workshops, intensive courses, and weekend programs for children and adults of all ages. www.burnsfilmcenter.org


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