Readings of the Romanian New Wave
Proposal Deadline: April 30, 2015
When the Cannes Film Festival’s highest prize, the Palme d’Or, was awarded to 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days in 2007, this marked the most prominent success of the internationally acclaimed Romanian New Wave. A number of other films received recognition at international film festivals both in the first and second decade of the 2000s, among them The Death of Mr. Lăzărescu (Puiu, 2005), Police, Adjective (Porumboiu, 2009), Aurora (Puiu, 2010), Child’s Pose (Netzer, 2013), and The Japanese Dog (Jurgiu, 2013). New York City’s “Making Waves”—a five day festival devoted to new Romanian films—is slated for its tenth iteration in 2015 and has been covered at length and with copious praise by The New York Times. For a country of 21 million, this represents a surprising degree of cinematic success, attracting both critical and scholarly attention within Romania and abroad.
We are seeking original essays for an edited collection on the Romanian New Wave from a variety of perspectives. This collection should be of interest to a broad scholarly audience interested in international cinema. Suggested topics include, but are not limited to:
- The memory of communism in the New Wave. Analyses of films that explicitly or implicitly deal with the communist past [e.g. The Paper Will Be Blue (2006), 12:08 East of Bucharest (2006), I’m an Old Communist Hag (2013)].
- Post-communist transitions: how does the New Wave dramatize the social changes, relations, and institutions of the past twenty-five years?
- Representations of age. Many New Wave films feature children or elderly protagonists. Themes of generational changes, conflicts, or continuities as they dramatize larger social dynamics could be analyzed.
- Representations of gender and feminist readings of particular films.
- Reception studies: responses to the films in Romania and/or abroad.
- The rhetorical function of the “New Wave:” when did the term start circulating and how do directors, programmers, and/or critics resist or embrace this designation?
- Comparative readings with other national cinemas. Such essays could focus on contemporary ‘realist’ films from other countries or on the influence of other ‘New Waves’ on Romanian filmmaking.
- Essays on the most prominent directors of the New Wave (e.g., Mungiu, Munteanu, Puiu, and Porumboiu).
- Crucial individuals beyond directors: actors (e.g. Luminita Gheorghiu), prominent technicians (e.g. cinematographer Oleg Mutu), writers, and producers.
- Film theoretical approaches to the New Wave. For example, Dudley Andrew’s What Cinema Is! reads 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days following Andre Bazin’s understanding of cinema. This project that could be continued or the work of other film theorists such as Kracauer, Epstein, Balázs, or Deleuze could also be put in productive dialogue with Romanian cinema.
- Generic analyses of films (contemporary neorealist drama, psychological thriller, family drama, crime films) and of generic trends in the New Wave.
- Documentary films such as Children Underground (2001), Reconstruction (2001), The Second Game (2014), and The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu (2010).
- Analyses of short films (e.g. Cristi Puiu’s Stuff and Dough  regarded as the first Romanian New Wave film).
- Analyses of “Making Waves” and other Romanian Film Festivals. What is the role of international film festivals in the global success of the New Wave?
- Romanian cinema as “art film.”
- Single-film analyses of the most recent, very successful films, such as Beyond the Hills (2012), Child’s Pose (2013), The Japanese Dog (2013), and Closer to the Moon (2013)
- Analysis of the stylistic characteristics of the Romanian New Wave. Such studies could be focused on the particular use of staging, cinematography, editing or other elements.
- The importance of digital technology to the Romanian New Wave at the level of production, distribution, and/or reception.
- The economic sustainability of Romanian cinema: case studies of how films are financed, produced, and distributed.
A 250-350 word proposal and brief biography are due by April 30, 2015. If you already have a completed essay, we will accept drafts provided they include a 250-350 word summary at the outset. Completed essays are due by October 1, 2015. Queries are welcomed and encouraged. Please email Alina Haliliuc