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3 Essential Romanian Filmmakers

Gopo

Ion Popescu-Gopo

3 Essential Romanian Filmmakers Everybody Should Know

Romanian cinema became one of the best established after Eastern Europe became a free market economy. After an initial struggle, directors and screenwriters found suitable investors for their stories. Some of these directors have now crossed the barriers of Eastern European cinema and have succeeded on the international scene. Welcome to your guide to some of the very best filmmakers to come from Romania.

Ion Popescu-Gopo

Meet the man whose name is honored every year at the Romanian Oscars, which are called The Gopo Awards. Ion was the first filmmaker of distinction to emerge from Romania, and spent a decade as a graphic artist and cartoonist before turning to animated films in 1951, winning the 1957 Cannes Palme d’Or for the sardonic evolutionary parable, Short History (1956). His naked ‘everyman’ character, nicknamed ‘Gopo’s Little Man’, appeared in this and many other short films. Thereafter, he made features filtering live action through an animator’s surreal sensibility, like the Cold War spy drama, A Bomb Was Stolen (1961).

Sergiu Nicolaescu

The king of lavishly appointed Romanian historical epics, actor, director and then politician  Sergiu Nicolaescu is best known internationally for the 1970 film Michael the Brave (also known as The Last Crusade), a biopic of Mihai Viteazu, the man who united the territories of present-day Romania. Nicolaescu also made thrillers set in the pre-Communist first half of the 20th century, such as A Police Inspector Calls (1973). He was one of the public figureheads of the 1989 Romanian revolution, but later regretted his political activism as it distracted him from his creative work. Nicolaescu died on 3 January 2013 after a cardiac arrest.

Cristi Puiu

Born in Bucharest, Cristi Puiu is considered to be a groundbreaking director in modern Romanian cinema. Critics now regard his road movie, Stuff and Dough (2001), as the starting point of the Romanian new wave, although it was his second feature that really made a splash, a tar-black comedy that struck mordant chords with anyone who had experienced an overstretched healthcare system, The Death of Mr Lăzărescu (2005). In 2006, this film garnored 47 prizes, several nominations in the American Critics' Top 10 lists and in French magazines such as Telerama and Les Inrockuptibles. Puiu aims to create a film series entitled Six Stories from the Outskirts of Bucharest, which will explore six types of love stories.

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Sergiu

Sergiu Nicolaescu

Puiu

Cristi Puiu

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