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Cultural Intimacy and Family Ties in the New Romanian Cinema


Cultural Intimacy and Family Ties in the New Romanian Cinema

Tarbu, Ioana (2021) Cultural Intimacy and Family Ties in the New Romanian Cinema. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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After the fall of communism in 1989, Romania emerged as the country with the most prolific film industry in Eastern Europe. Directors like Cristian Mungiu, Cristi Puiu, Corneliu Porumboiu, Radu Muntean and several others have won numerous prizes at international film festivals, including the Cannes’ Palme d’Or, and their films are now referred to as the “New Romanian Cinema”. They are known for the documentary realism and the focus on everyday incidents and ordinary people, set in powerful stories of the communist past or of the postcommunist transition period.
Looking at Cristian Mungiu’s Graduation (2016) and Cristi Puiu’s Sieranevada (2016) I explore the sense of shared cultural intimacy which captures “those aspects of a cultural identity that are considered a source of external embarrassment but that nevertheless provide insiders with their assurance of common sociality” (Herzfeld, 3). The relation between family membership and national belonging is used to create a measure of shared awkwardness and vulnerability that functions as a bond of cultural kinship for the Romanian viewer. The exploitation of the rather unflattering and vulnerable aspects of the Romanians’ way of living and behaving shows a complicity between filmmaker and the audience that is created in the very act of castigating these realities. My analysis shows how these films offer a feeling of cultural intimacy as an artistic compensation for the crisis of filial and collective intimacy to a nation seen as a “community in anonymity”, to use Benedict Anderson’s formulation, finding its bearings during the postcommunist transition period.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Fine Arts > Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Tarbu, Ioana
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Film Studies
Date:15 November 2021
Thesis Supervisor(s):Salazkina, Masha
Keywords:East European cinema, postsocialist cinema, contemporary Romanian cinema, postcommunism, cultural intimacy, documentary realism, observational cinema, minimalism, existentialism, collective memory, reflective nostalgia
ID Code:990208
Deposited By: Ioana Stamatescu
Deposited On:16 Jun 2022 15:16
Last Modified:16 Jun 2022 15:16
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