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News 11 May 16

Two Romanian Movies Bid for Top Cannes Prize

Romanian film-making is represented at the Cannes Film Festival in 2016 by five movies, two of which have been selected for the main competition.

Cristina Bucureasa

2016 is the first year when Romania has two productions selected for Cannes' main competition. Photo: festival-cannes.fr

For the first time in the seven-decade history of the the Cannes Film Festival, which is starting on Wednesday, two Romanian movies are racing for Palme d'Or prize: “Bacalaureat” by Cristian Mungiu and “Sierranevada” by Cristi Puiu.

“This is the first time that two Romanian movies have been selected for the main competition, while in the entire festival Romanian cinematography is represented by five titles,” Romania's National Cinematography Council said ahead of the start of the festival.

Bacalaureat” is about the responsibilities of parenthood and tells the story of a doctor from a small town who must decide the best way for his son to get on in life.

“It's a contemporary story about a parent and his worries, a parent who wonders, given the situation of present day Romania, what he should tell his child about life. It's a personal story, but also a snapshot of society today,” Mungiu says about his film.

The movie marks Mungiu's third participation in the official competition. His 2007 production “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days” won the Palme d'Or in 2007, while his second Cannes entry, “Beyond the Hills”, won the award for Best Screenplay and Best Actress in 2012.

Mungiu has also been present at the Cannes Festival as a member of the main competition's jury. In 2013, he was elected as a jury member for the 66th Festival

The second Romanian film selected in the main competition, “Sierranevada”, is “about a commemoration that never gets to take place, a story about those who choose to escape into fiction and hide their fears behind ‘concrete reality’ when overwhelmed by a grief they cannot understand,” Puiu says in his Director’s Notes.

In 2006, his movie "The Death of Mr Lazarescu", dubbed one of the year's ten best films by the New York Times, won the "Un Certain Regard" prize at Cannes. Four years later, “Aurora” also won the "Un Certain Regard" prize.

At the same time, Bogdan Mirica’s “Dogs” was selected in the "Un Certain Regard" category.

The short films competition will also screen a Romanian movie, “4:15 PM The end of the world,” directed by Catalin Rotaru and Gabi Virginia Sarga, while Alexandru Badea's “All rivers run to the sea” will be in the competition for the Cinéfondation section.

Recent years have seen a renaissance in Romanian cinema. The Communist past, the 1989 revolution and the country's turbulent transition to democracy have all been themes in the country's new wave of films.

Young directors have been sharing their experiences and memories in a way that critics find honest and realistic.

The 69th annual Cannes Film Festival runs from May 11 to 22.

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