This month’s issue is focused on Romanian director Cristi Puiu. The director of Stuff and Dough, The Death of Mr. Lăzărescu, and Aurora is considered by many as one of the founding fathers of the Romanian New Wave, although he often denies that something like the New Wave actually exists. For others, he takes on the position of an outsider, not being a graduate from the National film school in Bucharest (U. N. A. T. C.), unlike most of the Romanian film “elite”.
Although Puiu enjoyed national and international praise for his second feature The Death of Mr. Lazarescu, surprisingly his last film Aurora is still struggling for theatrical release. It is true that the film is long and puzzling, and Puiu’s almost obsessive appetite for observation might have scared away a public less comfortable ogling at the impassive behavior of his film’s main character. Indeed, not many critics were completely convinced when the film circulated festivals in 2010. Recently, however, more and more people seem to be persuaded, among them Chris Chang from Film Comment and Manohla Dargis from The New York Times.
EEFB revisited all of Puiu’s films, including the short Cigarettes and Coffee that won the Golden Bear at the shorts section of the Berlinale, in which a father asks his son for a job. While Puiu’s first feature Stuff and Dough from 2001 follows the fate of two young men who take on a job to make a dubious package delivery, The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (2005) and Aurora (2010) center around protagonists and their struggles to communicate with their environment.
Our conversation with Cristi Puiu can be found in our Interviews section. We met the director at the Transilvania International Film Festival in Cluj (June 3-12) to talk with him about his work, art, and his views on contemporary Romania.
Moritz Pfeifer & Konstanty Kuzma