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Cristian Mungiu

Cristian Mungiu, 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, 2007, still from a color film in 35 mm, 113 minutes. From left: night receptionist (Tania Popa), Otilia (Anamaria Marinca), and Mr. Bebe (Vlad Ivanov).

THIS IS ONE TOUGH FILM, this 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days. As sparingly made as it is unsparing emotionally, Cristian Mungiu’s second feature won the Palme d’Or at Cannes 07, confirming that a Romanian New Wave has indeed broken, seemingly overnight. In the past several years, three other Romanian films have won major prizes at Cannes, including Cristi Puiu’s eviscerating Death of Mr. Lazarescu (2005), an astonishing track record for a country that had virtually no presence on the international film map for the second half of the twentieth century and that currently produces fewer than twelve features a year.

One of the first films to suggest that something vital was happening in Romanian cinema was Mungiu’s debut feature, Occident (2002). An intricately shaped comedy composed of three overlapping stories and ranging from bittersweet to slapstick, it is set in a small town in the

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