the romanian wave


When it comes to new waves, the critics who announce (or invent) them have more of an investment than artists, who understandably resist the notion that their individuality might be assimilated into some larger tendency. Ever since the French Nouvelle Vague of the late 1950s and early ’60s, cinephiles have scanned the horizon looking for movement. In Czechoslovakia before 1968, in West Germany and Hollywood in the 1970s and more recently in Taiwan, Iran and Uzbekistan, the metaphor signaled newness, iconoclasm, a casting off of tradition and a rediscovery of latent possibilities. It also contains an implicit threat of obsolescence, since what crests and crashes ashore is also sure to ebb. Which may be one reason for partisans of Romanian cinema to resist the idea of a wave. If no one wins a prize next year in Cannes, will this golden age be over?

But it’s hard, all the same, for an outsider to give full credence to the notion that the current flowering of Romanian film is entirely a matter of happenstance, the serendipitous convergence of a bunch of idiosyncratic talents. For one thing, to watch recent Romanian movies — the features and the shorts, the festival prizewinners and those that might or should have been — is to discover a good deal of continuity and overlap in addition to obvious differences.

more from the NY Times Magazine here.