One of Europe's finest filmmakers, Lucian Pintilie creates corrosive cinema that is at once original, ferocious, and hopeful. Born to Romanian parents in a German-speaking village in Southern Bessarabia, Pintilie describes the region as a halcyon polyglot and multicultural community, "today part of Ukraine...(then) inhabited by a genuine ethnic mosaic: Romanians, Ruthenians, Gagauzes, Turks, Tatars, Jews, and, of course Ukrainians and Russians." Memories of this tolerant and cosmopolitan community continue to inform the filmmaker's work, which is marked by a sense of "what could be."
Pintilie became a celebrated theater director in Bucharest before making his debut film, Sunday at Six, in 1965. That film so upset Romanian censors that he could not make his second film,Reenactment, until four years later. Although it was initially banned, Reenactment had its international premiere at Cannes in 1970, and the filmmaker was lauded in absentia; today it is considered a seminal work of the New Romanian Cinema. Forced into exile, Pintilie had to shoot his third film, Ward No. 6 (1973), in Yugoslavia. He returned home to make his fourth, Carnival Scenes(1979), but when that film was also completely forbidden he left Romania for France.
Pintilie returned to filmmaking after the collapse of Communism and the advent of democracy in Romania, creating a series of no-holds-barred dramas and dark comedies about life and its absurdities, beginning with The Oak (1992) and continuing with such acclaimed films as Afternoon of a Torturer (2001) and Niki and Flo (2003). Virtually unknown in the U.S., this latter film receives a weeklong run as part of this series. The retrospective concludes with the artist’s most recent work, the short film Tertium non datur (2005).
Organized by Laurence Kardish, Senior Curator, Department of Film, in association with the Romanian Cultural Institute in New York. Presented in collaboration with the Romanian Film Festival in New York, and with the cooperation of the Romanian National Film Center.
2003. Romania. Directed by Lucian Pintilie. Screenplay by Lucian Pintilie, Rasvan Radulescu. With Victor Rebengiuc, Coca Bloos, Razvan Vasilescu, Micaela Caracas. In this very black comedy about ill-suited neighbors united by marriage, Niki is a former colonel in the Romanian army whose daughter is married to the son of Flo, an aging Bohemian who is full of schemes for the “new” Romania. As the young couple prepares to emigrate to the U.S., Niki is obliged to interact with Flo, whom he finds totally unbearable. Courtesy of Filmex Romania. 95 min.
1979. Romania. Directed by Lucian Pintilie. With Victor Rebengiuc, Mariana Mihut, Gheorghe Dinica, Tora Vasilescu. This roundelay of affairs among the petty bourgeoisie was banned in Romania until the death of Ceausescu in 1989. 132 min.
1991. Romania/France. Directed by Lucian Pintilie. With Maia Morgenstern, Razvan Vasilescu, Victor Rebengiuc, Dorel Visan. In Bucharest, 1988, a young schoolteacher tries to carry out the will of her late father, an officer of Ceausescu’s “secret police,” who deemed that his body be used for medical research. Unfortunately, the refrigerators at the university are not working. 105 min.
1992. France/Romania. Directed by Lucian Pintilie. With Kristin Scott-Thomas, Claddiu Bleont, Marcel Iures, Olga Tudorache. The goings-on in an idyllic Romanian border town in the 1920s lead to a nasty situation for a young army captain and his beautiful bride. 82 min.
1996. France/Romania. Directed by Lucian Pintilie. Screenplay by Lucian Pintilie, Rasvan Popescu. With Razvan Vasilescu, Cecilia Bârbora, Victor Rebengiuc, Dorel Visan. Miners in the Jiu Valley are dying mysteriously, but are these accidents or murders? It’s the first case for a young public prosecutor, who soon falls in love with the survey engineer working as his assistant. 104 min.
Dupa-amiaza unui tortionar (The Afternoon of a Torturer)
2000. Romania. Directed by Lucian Pintilie. With Gheorghe Dinica, Radu Beligan, Ioana Ana Macaria, Coca Bloos. A young journalist travels to the countryside for an interview with a former torturer, but the afternoon does not go as expected. 76 min.
Tertium non datur
2006. Romania/France. Directed by Lucian Pintilie. With Victor Rebengiuc, Sorin Leoveanu, Tudor Istodor, Cornel Scripcaru. In the final days of World War II, a Romanian military unit in the Ukraine comes across some “allies”: high-ranking Wehrmacht officers. 39 min.
1973. Yugoslavia. Directed by Lucian Pintilie. With Slobodan Perovic, Zoran Radmilovic, Slavko Simic, Pavle Vujisic. In Tsarist Russia, a doctor in a provincial hospital encounters a former student in the mental ward, and his fascination with the rebellious fellow threatens to become too much. 92 min.
1965. Romania. Directed by Lucian Pintilie. Screenplay by Lucian Pintilie, Ion Mihaileanu. With Irina Petrescu, Dan Nutu, Gratiela Albini, Eugenia Bosânceanu. In 1940, as Romania drifts toward fascism, a boy and a girl share a mutual affection. And yet, as both are covert anti-fascist operatives, their true identities remain unknown to one another. 83 min.
1998. Romania. Directed by Lucian Pintilie. Screenplay by Lucian Pintilie, Rasvan Popescu, Radu Aldulescu. During a hot summer just outside Bucharest, a young waitress and an agricultural worker meet and start a mad affair. 108 min.
1968. Romania. Directed by Lucian Pintilie. Screenplay by Lucian Pintilie, Horia Patrascu. With George Mihaita, Vladimir Gaitan, Ileana Popovici, George Constantin. After two friends drunkenly injure a waiter, the police force them to recreate their crime for an “educational” film—with disastrous results.Reenactment is one of the key films of the New Romanian Cinema. 106 min.