Romania Architecture and Cinema

By | December 23, 2021

Architecture. – In the absence of organic interventions of urban redevelopment and enhancement of pre-existing buildings, the Romania has in any case tried, not without internal contrasts and divergences, to promote new architectural policies. Qualified Romanian journalists in the sector have clearly expressed this research through their many specialized magazines, from «Arhitectura» to «Arhitext», from «Igloo» to «Idea». The communist period, which lasted almost half a century, has strongly marked the modern condition of Romania: the original urban space of French inspiration, which during the second half of the 19th century. earned Bucharest the nickname of Paris of the Balkans, has gone through a phase of significant de-structuring, mostly caused by the massive industrial settlements that have caused serious lacerations in the building fabrics.

In the Eighties the historic center of the capital was definitively incorporated by the interventions wanted by Nicolae Ceauşescu, within a high-density ring made up of blocuri, huge residential buildings built after the war onwards; some recently built suburbs have been an expression of the new economically emerging class; while the mahala – intermediate spaces between city and countryside mostly abandoned, marked by the casual superimposition of industrial settlements on the original rural landscape – are the result of an intense and uncontrolled urban development. For Romania 2016, please check

Since the beginning of the 21st century, the country has reoriented its development policies in a sustainable perspective, with the encouragement of the use of renewable energies. The Dorobanti tower, designed in 2008 by Zaha Hadid and intended to house a hotel, several restaurants, a shopping center, a congress center and residences, should be the ambitious symbol of the new Bucharest. The office building built in 2003 by Zeno Bogdanescu and Dan Marin in the center of the capital is also emblematic, in the area that was the scene of a crucial event of the Romanian revolution of 1989: a glazed parallelepiped was grafted onto the ruins of the old Paucescu house seat of the Union of Romanian architects.

Cinema. – On November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall fell. A few days later, on December 25, Nicolae Ceauşescu was executed together with his wife Elena, following the decree of Ion Iliescu which established the Exceptional Military Court. Romanian cinema which, in the period from 1967 to 1989, had to deal with the limitations imposed by censorship, despite the fact that American commercial products circulated underground (see the documentary Chuck Norris vs. Communism directed by Ilinca Calugareanu in 2015), was in a position of problematic freedom. If therefore during the nineties there was renewal (exemplary the work of Lucian Pintilie, Dan Pita or Mircea Daneliuc), it was from the early 2000s that the noul val românesc (Romanian nouvelle vague) established itself as a movement, opening the way to a new generation of young Romanian authors, of which Cristi Puiu (b. 1967) can be considered the leading name. With the film Moartea Domnului Lǎzǎrescu (2005; The death of Mr. Lazarescu), a black comedy with a semi-documentary structure, Puiu won the Un certain regard award at the Cannes Film Festival, thus revealing the existence of Romanian cinematography with extremely original features.

Characterized by an austere, frankly unspectacular approach, and by meticulous attention in the composition of the shot, as well as by an observation of reality with a documentary matrix, the films made in the early 2000s clearly distinguish themselves from the naturalism of the previous generation. Another transversal feature is the catatonic black humor that vivisects the shortcomings of the new Romanian ruling class as well as the hypocrisies of the new generations.

Two years after Puiu’s statement, A fost sau na fost? (2006; East of Bucharest) by Corneliu Porumboiu won the Caméra d’or award at the Cannes Film Festival. In 2007, demonstrating the great vitality of noul val românesc, two Romanian filmmakers made their mark at the Cannes Film Festival: Cristian Nemescu with California Dreamin ‘ won the Un certain regard award, while Cristian Mungiu with 4 moons, 3 săptămâni si 2 zile (4 months, 3 weeks, 2 days) won the Palme d’Or. Porumboiu also won the 2009 Un certain regard jury prize with Polițist, adjectiv (known by the title Police, adjective), while three years later it was again Mungiu who won the French Festival, winning an award for the best screenplay for După dealuri (Beyond the Hills).

Other top names in the country’s new cinema are Călin Peter Netzer (Golden Bear at the 2013 Berlin Film Festival with Poziția copiluluiThe Kerenes case); Radu Jude (Silver Bear for Best Director at the 2015 Berlin Film Festival for the film Aferim!,Bravo!); Adrian Sitaru, author of the surprising Pescuit sportiv (2008, Pesca sport); Florin Serban (Silver Bear of the jury at the 2010 Berlin Film Festival with Eu când vreau să fluier fluier, If I want to whistle, whistle); Marian Crisan (Grand Jury Prize at the Locarno Film Festival in 2010 with Morgen); Andrei Gruzsniczki whose Quod erat demonstrandum won the Special Jury Prize at the International Rome Film Festival in 2013. The Romanian production, although with different results, nevertheless offered the sign of a strong stance towards the social and economic life of the post-Soviet Republic. Although it is never directly a political cinema, in its reference to the dark years of the Ceau şescu regime, it obliquely offers a reliable image of an unfinished democratic healing process. Andrei Ujica, an author who emerged at the beginning of the nineties and therefore, by birth, far from the authors of the noul val românesc, with Autobiography he Nicolae Ceausescu(2010, Autobiography of Nicolae Ceauşescu), a fluvial documentary that traces the entire life of the man who from 1967 to 1989 held the fate of the Romania in his hands, has perhaps created the true masterpiece of the new Romanian cinema. A work created with the materials of newsreels and what still remains of an unhealthy cult of personality to remind us that the democratic process of a country is always an open construction site.

Romania Architecture