Thursday, May 20, 2010

Romania's "New Wave" at Cannes, Reviews, Plus

SERIES: Major Film Festivals

First, Ken Loach's ROUTE IRISH, a last minute addition to films in competition at the 63rd Cannes International Film Festival (CIFF) brings the number to 19. Loach's THE WIND THAT SHAKES THE BARLEY won the Palme d'Or in 2006.

The title ROUTE IRISH is from the infamous, dangerous road that links Baghdad’s international ‘Green Zone’ with the city’s airport, and it marks the 73-year-old director’s first attempt to grapple with the Iraq War of the past six years. But ROUTE IRISH doesn’t deal with high politics. Instead, it explores the murky world of British ex-soldiers who work for private contractors in Iraq.

Trailers of all films in the Special Selection Competition.

Reviews from Cannes IFF: ROUTE IRISH / Iñárritu's BIUTIFUL

Now, Romanian films at Cannes. Romania's Cristi Puiu returns to competition at Cannes with what he describes as a "mind-blowing" crime story, AURORA screened Friday night at the Festival. Puiu, winner in 2005 of the Cannes section showcasing new talent, "Un Certain Regard," for THE DEATH OF MR. LAZARESCU, is the leading figure of the tiny country's "New Wave" school, which seemingly came out of nowhere about that time.

It did not take long for the world film community to take notice. Since then, the Romanians have won a number of top world awards. Among them are Corneliu Porumboiu, Catalin Mitulescu, and Cristian Mungiu, who won the 2007 Cannes Palme d'Or for 4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS, 2 DAYS.

Mungiu won best European Director and the film won best European Film at the 2007 European Film Awards. Romania submitted it for Oscar® consideration in the Best Foreign Language Film category for 2007 for the 80th Academy Awards.

To the amazement of many, myself included, the film was not nominated in the Best Foreign Language Film category. Some suggested that the Academy members did not nominate it because it dealt with a woman having an abortion. Others, because they felt the production values were below par. The Austrian film, THE COUNTERFIETERS, directed by Stefan Ruzowitzky won the Oscar, which it richly deserved among those nominated. However, Mungiu's film deserved a nomination.

Puiu's THE DEATH OF MR. LAZARESCU is the story of a man who dies, a victim of an uncaring health-care system. His latest, AURORO, is the story of a man who kills. Puiu has explained that the title AURORO, refers to the precise moment when day breaks and nature awakes.

In the movie, 42-year-old Viorel, an engineer, drives around Bucharest determined to put an end to the insecurity that has dominated his life since his divorce. He decides to make justice as he understands it, brutally intervening in other people's destinies. His actions throw him into a new life, a new day.

AURORA is the second installment of a planned "Six Stories from the Outskirts of Bucharest." In this installment, Puiu decided to play the lead character himself. Meanwhile, Cristian Mungiu has no directorial projects in the works at the moment.
Review of AURORO and then some.

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