Romanian Cinema Is the Worst Thing to Ever Happen to the Romanian Tourism Industry

Posted by Prince Gomolvilas
ON Tuesday, January 05, 2010
After I saw 2007's 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days—a stark, depressing, nerve-jangling thriller about two women in hot pursuit of an illegal abortion in 1980s Romania—I left the theater thinking, "Man, Romania is a shithole!" (By the way, I had to see that film by myself because none of my friends wanted to join me when I asked them, "Do you want to go see that Romanian abortion movie?" Apparently, the words "Romanian abortion movie" are a turnoff.)

But I was of course willing to give modern-day Romania the benefit of the doubt. Surely, things have changed—politically, socially, economically—since the 80s, right?

Well, I just saw Police, Adjective, a new police drama set in contemporary Romania that won the Jury Prize at Cannes last year and that critics have been creaming their pants over (100% from Top Critics on Rotten Tomatoes), and I left the theater thinking, once again, "Man, Romania is a shithole!"



Before I expound further on Romania and its shithole factor, I should say a few things about Police, Adjective. If you took out all the parts of the movie where nothing interesting happens, the film would be mmmmmaybe 30 minutes long. Seriously. The remaining hour and a half of footage consists of a cop walking a lot, standing a lot, sitting a lot, and eating soup. Seriously. There's a whole scene dedicated to him serving himself soup and bread and then eating all of it. That's all that happens in that scene. There's another scene that features a five-minute long static shot of the cop sitting and waiting to be called into his boss's office, while the receptionist types. Five minutes. The camera doesn't move. Seriously. The most exciting thing that occurs in the entire movie is the climax. What happens during the climax?

[BEGIN POSSIBLE SPOILER.]

The cop spends five minutes reading entries from a dictionary out loud. Seriously.

[END POSSIBLE SPOILER.]

The reason I wanted to see Police, Adjective in the first place is because I thought the title was intriguing and I thought it was supposed to explore the ambiguity of language. Plus, since the film was definitely not a "Romanian abortion movie," I knew that the climax of the film wouldn't be a lingering shot of a dead fetus. (Yes, that's a 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days spoiler, but I don't give a crap.) But Police, Adjective's observations about the gray areas of language (which, you see, reflect the gray areas of police duty, personal morality, and conscience) don't warrant two hours of exploration, especially in the simply boring way the movie is executed. I mean, sure, I get that the film also wants to show you the very real tedium of police work, but it's possible to show the tedium of police work without being tedious. 2007's Zodiac is about the tedium of police work, but that movie is fucking riveting.



But enough about Police, Adjective. I want to talk about Romania. Is it really the shithole that Romanian Cinema seems to suggest it is?

The Romanian Tourism Board, if there is such a thing, should be outraged that two of the most visible Romanian movies in the past couple years paint the country as a bleak, rundown Eastern European hell. And, look, I don't need to hear about how the communist regime in Romania was one of the last to fall in Eastern Europe and how the country is just trying to find its footing. That has no bearing on the fact that I think Romania is a shithole, and I would never want to visit. I want to be wrong. I really do.

Has anybody reading this ever been to Romania? Is it a shithole? And, look, I don't want to hear about how there's one city in Romania on the coast that's beautiful and lush. What about the country as a whole?

Are there any Romanians reading this? Care to jump to your country's defense? Or do you hate it and want to get out? I checked my Google Analytics, and during the course of 2009 this blog received a remarkable (considering) 344 hits from Romania! (Five of those hits are from the town of Vaslui, where Police, Adjective is set!) I know some of you are reading! I want to love your country! I really do! Make me love your country! And demand that your filmmakers start pumping out hilarious Romanian comedies! (Um...wait a minute...Police, Adjective IS a comedy? Seriously?)

Maybe Romanian-born NPR commentator Andrei Codrescu can clear things up for me? Mr. Codrescu, is Romania a shithole?! And was that Romanian abortion movie a comedy too?!

[Read the update to this post: "Romanian Karma; or: How I Became an Authority on South East European Cinema in a Matter of Days."]
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121 Comments

  1. I kinda, sorta think "shit hole" may best sum the place up.

    I mean, if one is supposed to judge the place solely from photographs, random art house films and one or two journalistic pieces.

    It's not a place I'd want to spend my next vacation. Unless, I really wanted to punish myself.

    Romania's always appeared to me to be a place of dour filth and decay. Places where children stare sullenly into cameras while standing in frigid, radioactive potato fields. In New York, when I met people there who'd just arrived from there, they struck me as humorless, bleak and with little to no dental care.

    But, maybe I've just caught them on a bad day, too.

    And, I don't really trust the place. When my blog has location hits from that country, I worry why they're looking at my blog. And, scramble to take even more personal info offline.

    Perhaps this means, I'm not a very nice person.

     

  2. Patty Hose Said,

    As a historian and a political/cultural geography nerd, I can say that Romania is indeed a shithole. No; I haven't been there. I'm a bit of an elitist when it comes to travel, so I avoid shitholes, although Buenos Aires was a little to close for comfort for me a few years back. I actually have a running subscription to political geography volumes published each summer titled "The World Today Series" by Stryker-Post Publications that detail every country on the planet. Even they admit Romania is a shithole, although in more academic terms. I guess it could be worse for Romanians . . . they could be Bulgarians.

     

  3. Cheryl Said,

    Everything I know about Romania, I learned from the 1984 TV movie Nadia, which I was obsessed with as a kid. It's an uplifting movie (gymnastics!), even though one of the themes is that Romania is a shithole. (Spoiler alert: Nadia defects.) Nevertheless, I wanted so badly to be Romanian that I made my mom cook traditional Romanian food for my eighth birthday. I was not a popular child.

     

  4. @Patty Hose: "I guess it could be worse for Romanians . . . they could be Bulgarians."

    Bulgaria is in fact quite nice.


    @Cheryl
    considering that Rumania was the place where the Germans, Italians, Greeks, Bulgarians, Turks, Russians etc. that could not afford the boat ticket to US went (around 1900 there were one million immigrants, total population being of about 10 million), I wonder what did your mother cook :P ...

    @Prince Gomolvilas: "Care to jump to your country's defense?"

    Shit-hole compared to what ? Compared to selected sections of Manhattan, definitely a shit hole ... it's a paradise compared to Detroit, New Orleans before the flood, or even Newark NJ :-P.

    Weather is unpleasant: very hot in the summer (gets to 100F in the cities), very cold in the winter (0F quite common). In case you might plan a visit, May is best month for visiting, or try for a summer in the mountains. The seaside is very crowded (think about 10 million people trying to get a spot on 20 miles of beach) and quite expensive.

    "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days" is a weird movie even for Rumanians ... as far as I see it, it's piss poor, and saved only by the performance of Anamaria Marinca. It's no exception: Rumanian cinema is terrible, and managed to get some attention with gore flicks like "432". It's easier to make exploitation (sex traffic, victims of ..., Communism, suffering intellectuals etc.) movies than to get together a good script, a good camera operator and a few actors that can be bothered to act instead of just walking around in front of the camera and reciting their lines. Also, Rumanian movie makers cannot be bothered to build sets: that's why the camera is static ... they cannot move it because they shoot in real buildings and there is only so much space to stuff the actors and the crew in.

    State subsidies for movies are to blame, I suppose: the directors and the producers don't care about getting people to watch the movies, just troll the festivals with dark stories about people getting screwed. The other thing to blame is the status of the "artist" in Rumania. Before 1989, being an artist was not the same as being unemployed: "poet" or "writer" was a real, recognized and lucrative job, "painters" or "sculptors" got state sponsored workshops and steady orders, and the "actors" were people you'd want to marry your daughter to. They did not have to care to write good novels, show some painting skill, or to act well ... with the "artist" certificate (IATC diploma for actors, membership in the Writers Union for writers/poets, Art Academy diploma for painters), one could go far without actually bothering with quality. Right now life is not very sweet for most of them, so of course Rumania is a shit-hole everybody wants to leave and go shoot movies in Hollywood :-P

    There is some hope, though: the TV networks began shooting their own soaps, so budding camera operators, script writers and actors get a place to discover if they want to make movies or it would be better to for them to become taxi drivers. There are a few young actors that show promise (Marinca, Alexandru Papadopol, Anca-Ioana Androne ... ), and a few old actors might get out of the theaters ...

     

  5. Oh my god! A real live Romanian online! And one who proves that Romanians can be genuinely funny! Before I get to Emil's well-observed Romanian thoughts, let me address the others.

    Louise, now why don't you trust the Romanians? Don't be xenophobic! It's entirely plausible that Romanians are interested in American politics from the perspective of an Orange County wife and mother!

    Patty, thanks, now you've introduced me to yet another country I never want to visit.

    Cheryl, wow, even 25 years ago, Romanian Cinema didn't paint Romania in a good light. Some things never do change.

    Now, Emil! Thanks for your comments--direct from Bucharest (according to your profile), which I can only assume is perhaps the most "progressive" city in Romania.

    My favorite part of your comment was when you wrote, "Rumanian movie makers cannot be bothered to build sets: that's why the camera is static ... they cannot move it because they shoot in real buildings and there is only so much space to stuff the actors and the crew in." I laughed out loud because that explains about 99% of Romanian Cinema (or at least what I know of it).

    But what I really want to know is, are there any Romanian slapstick comedies? I mean, you're funny, so I don't see why there wouldn't be an industry of hilarious Romanian comedies. And I don't mean dry stuff like Police, Adjective. No matter how many critics keep calling that movie a "comedy" or "funny," I still assert that it's not. If a five-minute long static shot of a cop sitting is someone's idea of humor, then I pass. I call it unbearable.

     

  6. Pure slapstick comedies don't remember, possibly http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0123756/ is one.

    Comedies with some sticks and some slapping were made in the '70s and early '80s; after we lost the cold war and the sense of humor I can't remember any except http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0438241/ .

    For reasonably good Rumanian comedies you could search for movies where Amza Pellea had a part (died in 1983). He wrote the script for http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0079615/ , which is almost slapstick comedy if you can recognize the sticks :P. Another one to watch for slapstick moments might be Toma Caragiu (died in 1977), though in my opinion he played the same character in every movie, much like Tom Cruise, except Cruise is better looking and a lot worse actor. Caragiu and Pellea also did stand-up comedy, if you cand find it.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0320194/ by the director of "432" is ... almost a comedy (supposing that can be translated into non-Rumanian experience) and is quite good, which proves that Mungiu can make good movies, just not always write good scripts. '432' is a loose adaptation of a very boring novel from 1938 about a guy losing his illusions and a girl rebelling against her dumb family ...

     

  7. I vote this post(and comment thread) for best of 2010. BAR SET HIGH, sir.

     

  8. Emil, thanks for the movie tips. And thanks for your previous traveling-in-Romania tips. But I doubt I will ever visit. I mean, I saw Hostel and Hostel II, and I know that American backpackers in Eastern European countries get lured by hot chicks, are kidnapped, and then tortured to death by rich businessmen.

    Smartlikeatruck, thanks, and I have thusly placed this post on my "best of" page, though I'm not entirely sure I used "thusly" correctly.

     

  9. "American backpackers in Eastern European countries get lured by hot chicks, are kidnapped, and then tortured to death by rich businessmen."

    which movie ? don't remember this one

     

  10. Anonymous Said,

    Romania is only partially a shit hole. There are many nice cities however Bucharest is in fact a shit hole (no offense to Emil). But as he pointed out, the list of crap holes in the US is actually quite long. If you like tourist-friendly places with photomats, strip malls, key-chains-with-pictures-of-you-at-the-falls, sailing-with-your-crew-wearing-berets-and-serving-caviar, or oompa-bands playing at the fake biergarten, then Romania is not a place to visit. If you have a sense of adventure and love the fact that the world doesn't all have to look like the American suburbs, then Romania is fantastic.

     

  11. Emil, maybe these movies never made it over there:
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0450278
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0498353

    Anonymous, how can Bucharest be a shithole? The Romania tourism site says: "Known for its wide, tree-lined boulevards, glorious Belle Époque buildings and a reputation for the high life (which in the 1900s earned its nickname of 'Little Paris'), Bucharest, Romania's largest city and capital, is today a bustling metropolis." :)

     

  12. Anonymous Said,

    I don't know anyone that came to Romania and didn't fall in love with it.

     

  13. I know I'm xenophobic by worrying about people in certain places looking at links that have my kids on them.

    Maybe that's because one day I noticed a similar eastern european country had been downloading photos of my daughter off my blog (photos of her in dental orthodontic wear) and when I followed "the breadcrumbs" I realized they were all being linked to a site about females that age in orthodontia. I won't even say the simple words because I don't their blog searches or "spiders" or whatever wordbot they used to pick that up again, I fear any environment where people sell things like that to others.

    BUT -- I KNOW, I know. This could be someone in my own backyard doing this. I get that. I'm guilty of terrible judging of others based on nothing than location hits of viewing of former posts of my children. My bad.

    But, that is NO reason not to trust all people from certain place.

    Point well taken, Prince. You are correct.

     

  14. Oh, Louise, I was just kidding. There's NO reason the Romanians should be visiting your blog except for nefarious reasons! Call me xenophobic, but no one from Eastern Europe dreams of Orange County living. (Wait a minute...is this comment insulting to the Romanians? Or Orange County residents?)

     

  15. Please to be differentiating between South County and North County, sir. My neighborhood is a delightful mix of Old White Ladies, Young Hispanic Families, and Weird Young White Dudes With Boats.

    I do not have even one sexy tan botoxed neighbor. Oh, how I suffer, with my tattoo parlours and bars and art galleries and coffee shops. Suffer, suffer, suffer.

     

  16. Smartlikeatruck, well, I'll have you and Louise duke this one out. I can call Romania a shithole and not worry, but Orange County is a little too close to me and I fear its orange wrath.

     

  17. Cheryl Said,

    Emil, thanks for your reply! It sounds like Romanian food can be broken down into many sub-types, as can American food, Mexican food, etc. I have no idea where my mom found a recipe in those pre-internet days, but she made something that was polenta-esque. I loved it.

     

  18. Anonymous Said,

    Louise - Regarding the orthodontic pictures; remember, this is the same country where the President proudly admitted the abundance of pirated Windows software to Bill Gates and how that helped the country get ahead.

     

  19. "I can call Romania a shithole and not worry"

    As long as US pays for the base they rented in Rumania, you're allowed to call Rumania whatever you want, their is the only occupation army that did this, so we're willing to take a little hazing :) .

    Bucharest is past the stage of "hole": it has somewhere between 3 and 3.5 million people in it, so it's more a industrial compost pile. Also, it was trapped in the '80s for 25 years, so "shit" used to apply quite well until 5 years ago. Since about 2005 it began changing very fast, so I when I could not recognize it any longer I moved to another city, that's still living in the '80s :P, Iași, some 250 miles to the North-East (though I still think about Bucharest as "home").

    Louise, you're right not to trust Rumanians. I don't trust them myself: they were known to be a mischievous nation even 1000 years ago, so mischievous that nobody wanted to be friends with them except when the shit was about to hit the fan, and somebody was needed to help clean it up :P ... right now we should be very grateful to that moron Saakashvili: ever since his scrap with Russia everybody is a bit more friendly towards Rumania.

     

  20. Anonymous Said,

    Emil - Iasi is a decent little city. I've been there and even had a decent meal at "Little Texas". Even if the food there wasn't so great the beer and atmosphere were great.

     

  21. I'm going to begin describing certain cities as "industrial compost piles." I like that term.

     

  22. make sure those cities have 20% GDP growth year on year or already a very high GDP, otherwise it's still shit, not compost :P

     

  23. Anonymous Said,

    I can't believe you're only talking about Romania. Romania is actually quite nice, I've been there twice. I'm an American who lives in its' stupid retard cousin of a country next door, Moldova (Yes it's in Europe). And while I've grown to love the little village I live in, I've come to see how much cooler America is. Every one of the comments against Romania thus far should really be directed at Moldova, it's wwaaaaaayyy shittier than Romania, trust me.

     

  24. What do you think, Emil? Moldova? Shithole?

     

  25. I don't get a break, it seems :D

    Moldova used to be the coolest place to live if you were a Soviet Union citizen and cared for human comforts such as food, good booze and mild(er) climate. When SU dropped dead, Moldova was left without most of it's markets (the Russian food market was flooded fast with US and European food at ... discount prices). I will not comment about what did that to Moldova. Suffice to say, they still have probably the best chocolate products in the whole world if you know where to buy, and I had been lucky to date a Moldavian girl who did; also, the best votka ever.

    Before answering your question, let me offer fair warning:

    For the "Lord of the Rings" buffs out there: when you think of Moldova, think of Rohan (the people riding horses in that cavalry charge near the end of the film). Same as the Rohirrim, the Moldovans started out in a long valley in the mountains (the valley of the Moldova river, now in West Moldova, or Moldavia :P) making life so unpleasant to the Teuton knights (settled by the Hungarians on the Eastern side of the Carpatians mountains) that they prefered to leave and go preach to the Poles, Lithuanians and Russians. At the time when royalty from Hungary, Prussia, Poland and Rus' has a special pair of absorbant pants to wear when the Mongol Invasion season started, the Moldovans began carving themselves a little empire from the territory the Mongols took from Cumans, Pechenegs and Russians (of course, official history tells us that Moldovans were living there since Paleolithic, or at least since the time of the Dacians, but I have some doubts, since their own written sources from the Middle Ages support my story). They were so mean that the Mongols named Moldova after one of their leaders from the XIVth century (Bogdan): Kara-Bogdan, meaning "The country of Bogdan the Dark" (nice LOTR sound to it, too).

     

  26. Among the medieval states, Moldova, like Wallachia, was a bit special. The manner they chose their management had a twist to it: it was elective. The "election" went like this: the challenger got his 2000 or 3000 campaign staff, the incumbent got his, usually about the same number, all riding horses and armed to the teeth, and they met somewhere convenient and slug it out between themselves, without bothering the civilians except with the noise and with the stench of the rotting bodies the loser left in the field. This manner of campaigning went of for a couple hundred years with everybody being satisfied, until the neighbors got tired of the din and of the losers being chased into their own countries and "disqualified" from ever running for office in manners disturbing even for medieval times. The neighbours attempted to organize "orange" revolutions, which led only to the incumbents upping the number of their campaign staff. The result was that Moldova had an even better trained cavalry, and by the XVIth century they had a 20.000 strong standing army, all mounted, who could be mobilized and sent across the border in a week (it happened once to the Poles, when they thought they were performing a surprise raid), or 60.000 cavalry (20.000 professional, 40.000 reserve) which could be fielded within a month, and by the middle of the XVIth century also an artilery corps employing some 300 mobile field pieces. The infantry deficit was made up for by recruiting Szeklers (now known also as Hungarians) or pairing up with other more subdued neighbors. With this clout the Moldavians began meddling, kingmaking, offering refuge to evil (Bohemian refugees, Catholic/Protestant refugees during the religious wars) people, recruiting guestarbeiters (like they did under Bogdan III when they politely invited some 150,000 people from Poland to move into Moldova), making trade treaties with distant countries (for ex. Moskow) and enforcing the terms of the said treaties all the way there, no matter who was in charge of the land between Moldova and Moskow. The only thing that prevented the Moldavian princes from carving even a larger territory was their habit of holding elections every few years (three in average, probably the time needed for the quartered and displayed in public corpses of former challengers to rot completely and new challengers to raise money).

     

  27. In recent days Moldovans and Rumanians enjoy saying about themselves that they shielded Western Europe against the Turks, which is an understatement: the Turks used to make treaties with Western countries to shield themselves againts the Moldavians (or the Wallachians, who had the same election system and were less imaginative in ways of being unpleasant to whomever they fancied, but got more practice). The only method that worked for the Turks was to send huge armies (over 100k professionals) during harvest time, and have them perambulate around Moldova until they managed to eat everything that was edible: if the army was smaller, it got cut to pieces, and with large numbers they could not move fast enough to corner the higly mobile Moldavians long enough to inflict real damage. It took some 10 years of such visits, and the cooperation of the Hungarians, the Poles and the Krim Horde, to convince Steven the Old (misleadingly translated now as "the Great", but there is some truth in that translation because he survived 42 years while holding the highly competitive job of "civilian administrator and chief of armed forces", which is the meaning of "Domn", from the Byzantine office of Dominus/Despot, and Voievod") to sign a treaty requiring him to keep the peace, and each year give a gift of a few horses, some falcons, some furs, and money not enough to arm a company of heavy infantry.

    After getting involved in all the wars in the region, fighiting absolutely everybody west of the Rhine including the Swedes, changing Church alegiance a couple of times, and latter getting rich on trafficking with war horses (you know, the funny, round, short, sometimes hairy horses that BBC likes to call ponies when they do pieces about Rumania or Moldova ... that is a great joke indeed, because the same breed was used by the Mongols to run over China and other places that favored tall horses) all over Central, Eastern and Southern Europe, plus Anatolia and Iran, more recently Moldovans fought on both sides of the WWII, depending who was controlling Moldova at the time they reached military age (if you've seen the documentary about the military transport ship that also had refugees from Eastern Prussia and got sunk by a Soviet Union submarine, the sub commander had a Moldovan name), and on both sides of the Transnistria conflict (though some say it was only eveel Russians on the far side of the Dniepr, I have my doubts, knowing how efficient are the modern armies when it comes to keeping recruits in line).

    Now to the question: is Moldova a shit hole ? ... dunno, have not visited East Moldova (West Moldova is called officially Moldavia, while NW Moldova is called Bukowina) yet though I plan to get there some time, but if it is, it's very mean shit and you should not inquire furhter about it :P

     

  28. Emil, thank you for an in-depth Moldovan deconstruction. Before last week, I never even knew Moldova existed. I wonder if Moldovans themselves know that Moldova exists.

     

  29. "I wonder if Moldovans themselves know that Moldova exists."

    That is a very insightful statement ... Moldova is to Rumania like Ireland is to UK ... besides being stereotypes as scrappy and prone to drinking excesses, when it suits them they forget Moldova exists, otherwise the Moldovans are getting all moist about "Steven the Old", Moldovan language, Moldovan borders, Moldovan sovereignty and the unredeemed West Moldova that is part of Rumania. Recently their politicians are mellowing towards Rumania, I guess because Rumania opened the gas pipes for them when the Russians closed their.

     

  30. Daniel Said,

    Nice review Emil. Moldova is a lovely though quite poor country. Like you I am awed by their military history but then the Bulgars, Albanians and Ukraine Cossacks in Central Europe have also demonstrated how balls organization and mobility can punch well over weight - and if you go further north we could start on the Finns and Lithuanian ;)
    Inpired me to read wikipedia on ancient Moldava.
    Thanks
    Dan

     

  31. David Said,

    For Louise Larsen: just a few "romanian assholes"who actually did more for this country then you will ever be able to do...
    Radu Michael..( Wikipedia, Barnes and Nobles)
    He was Senior Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Co-Chairman of FPRI's Center on Terrorism, Counter-Terrorism, and Homeland Security.

    Alex Vraciu-Alexander Vraciu (born November 2, 1918) was a leading United States Navy fighter ace and Congressional Medal of Honor nominee during World War II.

    there are many others

     

  32. @Daniel: thanks


    XVIth century fortified monasteries
    in Iasi, in Western Moldavia ... all look as if at that time the national motto was "if it's worth building, it's worth including cannon emplacements".

    (Eastern) Moldova has it's own, and quite spectacular, but I have not yet got a chance to see them in person.

     


  33. Anonymous Said,

    I've been to Romania for the summer, I'm from the UK. I hadn't thought of going there before, I got matched with Romania for a placement.

    I actually really liked Romania. The people I met are so friendly and helpful, and really love it that you're visiting their country.

    I didn't visit many cities, but those I did see have some beautiful buildings in the centre, with many not-so-nice-looking appartment blocks. There is beautiful countryside and beautiful mountains.

    I really recommend Romania to you all! It was a great trip, and I made friends with a lot of brilliant Romanian people with very similar outlooks to other Europeans.

     

  34. That's ONE for Romania!

     

  35. ingrid Said,

    http://www.trekearth.com/gallery/Europe/Romania/

     

  36. Anonymous Said,

    wow okay thanks a lot for calling my country a shithole first of all. And second of all your judging a country based off of shitty movies that were made to look shitty. If somone never heard of America and they saw only pictures of down town detroit and the ghettos of Alabama they would think America was a shithole too. You guys are really ignorant to be talking so much shit about a country youve never even been to.

     

  37. "If somone never heard of America and they saw only pictures of down town detroit and the ghettos of Alabama they would think America was a shithole too."

    ...Yeah, that's the whole point of this piece!

    Look, up "humor" in the Romanian dictionary for further guidance...if such a word exists in Romanian.

     

  38. Anonymous Said,

    I am CC, a 35 years old Romanian journalist, got here almost by mistake. It was so funny for me to read the article and the comments.
    If you ask me, Romania can be wonderful, if you are a tourist, a foreigner, and don't have to stay here for more than ... a year let's say.
    For Romanians it can be pretty much a shithole. Almost every policeman stopping you in traffic expects a bribe. You never trust the doctors you take your child to. You KNOW that people in power are almost all the same, they don't give a s..t about the people they lead, and almost every state contract is bogus, and it was signed so the people who contributed to electoral campaigns can cash back 10 times their "investment".
    Romanians are generally poor; they stay much inside, watching TV, not many of them going to cinemas. That is why every Romanian director and screenplay writer is focusing on festivals to earn some money. As Europeans love their cinema quite bleak... well, that is the explanation for the so many gray Romanian movies that you see. I actually found politist to be quite funny. It is true also, the movie is filled with inside jokes, that probably only Romanian people can fully understand. Not very smart, true. And I know for a fact it was a huge surprise even for the director the movie wan at Cannes.
    Nice article, excellent comments most of them. I genuinely enjoyed being here.

     

  39. danTheman Said,

    This is becoming a better and better thread - nice provocation PG.

     

  40. CC and Dan, thanks for visiting and keeping this thread going...against all odds and logic. :)

    CC, I especially appreciate your insider insight.

    Anyway, I look forward to seeing a Romanian sitcom someday!

     

  41. Anonymous Said,

    Well, Prince G, if you must... take a look here. http://www.primatv.ro/seriale/trasniti-din-n-a-t-o.html
    But I warn you, you'll start liking Romanian cinema.
    CC

     

  42. Anonymous Said,

    Well im romanian, and the country by it self is beautiful, is the people who make it look like shit. We have plenty or history and fun shit to do that makes the States look so boring. FYI!
    Bucharest for example: great food, and clubs. Hot girls, you name it we got it. Maybe I see it different since im a different generation, but if your into trance, techno and crazy stuff you will have a blast.
    Then you wanna go to the sea? Go to Mamaia, Tan Tan beach, Bamboo club, Krystal club.
    Mountains? Brashov, go see Draculas Castle...
    I guess you kinda need to know around so you can enjoy it.
    Be carefull from gypsyes...you'll get your ass robbed...
    Is a beautifull place, but the people suck. So be carefull.

     

  43. Emilia Said,

    Geee people i dont understand this. HOW CAN you say things about a country you havent visited?it is outrageous!!! DO you really think that a movie or two can reflect the complex personality of a country?

     

  44. Emilia Said,

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/filmblog/2008/mar/25/canromaniasnewwavesustain

     

  45. danTheman Said,

    Emilia - new word 'irony' . Add a conventional dictionary to the UN Dictionary of Politically Correct Outrage and you find the joys of a smile over a scowl before the wind changes ....

     

  46. "HOW CAN you say things about a country you havent visited?" ... well, maybe you've seen bits of that country in a movie ... which is why Mungiu and the other "artsy" fellows are pure poison for Romanian tourism.

     

  47. Mick Said,

    Does anybody still give a shit? Oh well, tough titty.

    I've travelled fairly extensively within Romania, having been to Arad, Brasov, Tulcea, Constanta, Bucharest and various places in between.

    Somebody's already said similar, but not everybody wants to visit a country that looks the same as Surrey. Romania is a country of spectacular contrasts, in both wealth, geography and culture, full of both visible and hidden gems. The tourist extravaganza of Bran Castle, wildlife-spotting in the Danube Delta, beautiful cities such as Brasov (complete with delightfully kitsch Hollywood style sign on an overlooking hill) and a fuck load of sauerkraut. My memories of Romania: Soviet-era trains skirting cliff faces in the pissing rain in the Transylvanian Alps, the 'secret garden' camp-site somewhere east of Sibiu (arrive in front of an 8 foot rusty gate in a hinterland dirt-poor Romanian village, watching them open revealing a scene from the Wizard of Oz, only with ample washing and drying facilities), a beggar waving his bloody stump at me whilst stuck behind a traffic light in Braile, bribing my way out of the country because I'd forgotten to purchase my Vignette, and morbidly obese Americans forcing their way through Bran Castle's less well endowed corridors. If you enjoy avoiding beaten paths and actually want some holiday stories that people might be interested in listening to, visit Romania. Grim apartment block sprawl, natural wonders, spectacular castles, hygiene-challenged locals, spectacularly dangerous driving (yet everybody insists on crossing level crossings at a snails pace, odd that) and Transyl-fucking-vania. It's a truly fascinating corner of Europe.

    Otherwise, fuck off to Lake Como/Tenerife/Capri. I don't think any of us will miss you.

     

  48. "Grim apartment block sprawl...hygiene-challenged locals...spectacularly dangerous driving."

    I am sold!

     

  49. Anonymous Said,

    oh I'm romanian and we hate these bleak shitty type of movies they don't represent the romanian spirit but you know why these romanians make them? because they're "artistic" and because they know european movie festivals will give them awards for these type of movies - they love this type of sh*t at Cannes! but only when it comes to east europe mind you
    while romanian actors and directors might get temporary recognition for their talent - we get dragged down as a country. but the thing is this is what the media and a big part of the public wants to hear about romania - that it's a shithole! they don't want to hear anything good! they love stereotypes and these romanian "talents" are like whores who bend over the way the west tells them, against our won interests...I for one I'm not bothered anymore I'm tired of it I don't feel like I have to prove myself to anyone because of the image problem
    you know what the irony is? that during the communist era comedy and humor were very appreciated, and they still are! we're the type of people who laugh at themselves it's the west who has this bleak image of us

     

  50. danTheman Said,

    Thats because in Soviet times you had drunken corrupt bureaucratic Russians to laugh at !
    Now all you got is yourself - leftover commies and 'new romanians'
    - not quite the same quality comedic material ;)
    dan
    P.S. In soviet times you had to laugh else you'd cry .. - oops what's changed ..

     

  51. danTheman Said,

    (as I previously commented - but blogger censored)
    The reason life was funny in Soviet times was Russians - drunk, bureaucratic, confused, sincere, drunk again - they are ultimate comedic material1
    Now you only have romanian commies and 'new romanians' to laugh at. And Romania has no oil to fund Roligarchs - I understand the demise of humour in this context - you needed Borat to locate his virtual Kazakhstan in Romania not Albania - and the laughs would still be rolling in ..
    Bummer (or the short version of Romanian history)

     

  52. @danTheman:

    Dan, no Russians/Soviets in Romania after ~ 1954. Humor was almost free, as long as you did not challenge the Party or some local leader directly.

    The lack of quality humor after 1990 has more to do with the end of Cold War, which we lost, than with the lack of Russians. Germany and Japan were quite bleak until the 60s, when "made in Japan" was synonym with "cheap crap" and Japanese movies were all depressing meditations about the shitty fate of humankind and almost everybody died in the end (don't know about German movies 'cause there are none from that time on the torrents, and even more recent movies are artsy and not very good).

    Both Germany and Japan needed over 20 years go get over the asskicking they received. My bet is in 5 to 10 years we'll recover from the asskicking we got during the early '90s and US 'tellectuals will agonize over what does Eastern Europe do right and you do wrong :P ... including in movies ... and of course, it would not help us a bit since US will still be the first power (both in military and cinematographic terms) :P

     

  53. In my little movie-constructed perception on americans, I have always expected narrow mindness and ignorance from your people, cause lots of your movies portray you like that. I left it up to real life experience to form some real judgments and draw conclusions and, luckily, I met great people, almost every single time.

    Therefore, please understand my surprise when reading your pretty ignorant views: "The Romanian Tourism Board, if there is such a thing, should be outraged that two of the most visible Romanian movies in the past couple years paint the country as a bleak, rundown Eastern European hell. And, look, I don't need to hear about how the communist regime in Romania was one of the last to fall in Eastern Europe and how the country is just trying to find its footing. That has no bearing on the fact that I think Romania is a shithole, and I would never want to visit. I want to be wrong. I really do."

    P.S. many of our movies have a very language-based humour, which is why it may be difficult for foreigners to get. It's also quite subtle and situations often go towards the absurd, so if your humour appreciation is at Scary Movie levels, you should not hope to like any romanian movie soon.

     

  54. iulia Said,

    Hello.I am a romanian and I am proud to be one.
    Check the movies:Sex Traffic ,the old movies from `70 or `80 compare to movies from USA.
    The reality is different anyway.And by the way ,I can say ,finally the romanian cinema wake up in time .Now the have money ,good actors ,and the country is amasing for trips,adventures ..Go and see with your eyes and after that comment about the country is a shithole!

     

  55. Aside from the racist comment (one Romanian hacker means entire nation is evil) quite hilarious, both from its insight into Romanian cinema as well as proudly detailing one's ignorance of the entire country (and Moldova, the "retarded cousin").

    Definitely passing this on to the thousands of Romanians I know :D

     

  56. Dan Said,

    Oh, it's sooo nice to see people judging an entire country based solely on seeing two movies. It's like me saying all American cowboys are gay, cause I saw that in Brokeback Mountain. Or all Americans are insanely obese, cause that's the feeling I got after watching Supersize Me.
    Oh, wait... maybe there's not entirely false...
    You wanna burn those extra calories? Get your caboose to Romania. America is FAR AWAY so you'll probably have to do a lot of walking to get to us cause cars, trains and planes have not yet been invented here.
    On a more serious note, take a look at this site:
    http://www.iloveyouromania.com/
    It's the blog of a friend of mine and those pictures are worth more that a thousand words.

     

  57. Gia Said,

    Those two movies are horrible! :) I'm from Romania and Romania was like those movies describe it 25 years ago in some suburbs... but not now, not everywhere :)... Romania has beautiful landscapes, and some Transylvania incredible towns. Unfortunately, the other towns are not much - they look like other EE poor countries... you can visit Bucharest though :) It's nice in winter, in December/ January

     

  58. Anonymous Said,

    http://kingofromania.wordpress.com/2010/11/25/romanias-image/
    Check this link.

     

  59. Anonymous Said,

    http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/11/08/eurofile-back-to-bucharest/

     

  60. Kozminovici Said,

    This was a nice read :) Romania as a whole isn't really one big shithole, it's more like a collection of smaller shitholes intertwined with bunches of Really Cool Stuff. For some reason, most of my countrymen seem to be natively blind to the latter, which is a shame, resulting in their constantly bitching and moaning and ultimately making this kind of "smart, deep" pretentious bullshit movies that you named here.

    I'm not a huge fan of the "classic" 70's and 80's comedies either, no matter how much praise they might get. The acting is too over-the-top for my taste (most Romanian actors are trained in stage acting, not cinema acting, and it shows) and the production value is generally pretty low (with abysmal sound quality, a running joke in Romanian cinema).

    What I DO recommend, however, is that you watch "Restul e tacere" (The rest is silence - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0839967/) directed by Nae Caranfil. Caranfil's movies are a breath of fresh air in the bulk of otherwise disgustingly self-conscious productions we've been assaulted with lately. "Restul e tacere" is a witty historic dark comedy, taking place in the time when the first Romanian film was made - sometime in the 1900's. The sets are authentic and rather charming, too. No Communism, no bleakness, but a fresh look at a cosmopolitan society in the beginning of the 20-th century.

     

  61. razvan Said,

    well, actually, it would be hard to make a touristic appreciation on US starting with a western. In fact you can check specialised sites for that.
    As for comedy this is one of the best ever http://www.worldscinema.com/2010/08/sergiu-nicolaescu-nea-marin-miliardar.html but as it is pretty old, you can check "Filantropica", that is about bouth the touristic and repulsive Romania. (an a better movie if you'd ask me) check it here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifL-TW_jrMA&feature=related and I'm sure it can be found with Engl. subt.

     

  62. Adina Said,

    maybe you will fall in love with our shitty country after you see "potretul luptatorului la tinerete"/ the portray of warrior in his youth i guess that's the title because this movie looks more occidental but the subject remains a Romanian one :D

     

  63. Anonymous Said,

    If you watch "8 Mile" then you will think that US is a shit hole

     

  64. danTheman Said,

    @anon. Everywhere 'has' shitholes.
    US, Australia - there are towns in any country in central europe / asia where you are only advised to go with a particularly battle hardened Stryker battalion and the first aircav on standby.
    But just because you can jog doesn't make you Haile Selassie.
    Romania is a allegedly a serious contender for the Nobel Prize for Holidays In Hell. This is the subject and in particular its principal argument made via it's cinema.
    Or are they just small noting themselves?
    The debate dribbles on with dribblers like you contributing in a very very small way ...

     

  65. MaZ Said,

    Things are very complicated in life, some people can choose the easy way and see things very simple, it's their choice.
    I'm of the opinion that you can't judge a country or form an opinion by watching movies, because movies tend to be very subjective and their goal is not to inform people. As someone in the comments also said some movies you just can't understand them completely because of their inside jokes and often these inside jokes are very important to the image that the movie wants to create or recreate.
    I saw lots of movies that were set in the USA and if i would move tomorrow to the USA i would try not to judge or act based on the information i got from those movies, and try to learn on my own and from a real experience. It's easy to judge and it's less time consuming to watch a movie and say "Romanians are bleak". Generalising it's very easy but very misleading, if you wanna form objective and real opinion about any subject it's a very hard thing that can be very time consuming and very few people try and do things in this manner, also another problem is that people have an incomplete opinion and they express it as a complete and final opinion, every opinion we have is subject to change. Let's say you would be a very rich businessman living in Romania things would be great or you would live in a very poor family trying to survive on day by day basis, these are the black and white for the problem but their are lots and lots of gray tones. Also when this post had just 2-3 or comments the opinion about the subject was one but when the post has more than 10 comments it's another thing the opinion has changed even, at least remotely. Good luck to all. I'm a romanian citizen that lived his whole life in Bucharest.

     

  66. zuza Said,

    Hi, I'm 27 and I'm from Bucharest.

    I don't think at all that you're narrow minded by thinking that Romania is a shithole because of that 2 movies. Romania has no brand, there is little positive general perception of my country, so it's only natural to draw such a conclusion :)

    I too hate the way most Romanian movies depict Romania. It's not because Romania actually is a shithole (although it's not necessarily anything else, but that doesn't mean you can't have a good, exciting, interesting life here), but because Romanian movie writers can't freakin' get out of this loop, in which they think presenting poverty, communism etc etc is artsy and cool.

    I too can't wait for a Romanian movie that is interesting and has witty dialogue, "although" it's placed in 2010. Its like they don't know how to write about all the new things that are happening, and trust me, it's a lot. It would be a risk though, because everybody is expecting you to be dark and strange after 50 years of communism, but hey, wasn't that enough?

    I would recommend 2 other Romanian movies, although they still contain the same shithole atmosphere, but the movies are not about THAT and only that:
    Filantropica http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0314067/
    and
    California Dreamin' http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0449573/

    At least they're smart, the stories are here and there mind blowing, the actors are great, they are not at all boring (even if California Dreamin' is 3 hours long), and the humor is exquisite. Of course there is a lot of Romania subtext and maybe you will not be able to get as a foreigner all the jokes, but still..

    Nice post anyway!

     

  67. Dragos Said,

    I'm only going to name you one movie !
    Its a old movie made in 1942. A italian-romanian production. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0035143/
    Its not a comedy - its a drama. Filmed after the city of Odessa was conquered by the German and Romanian forces.
    This is what romanian producers, actors, and directors can make.
    You will get bad movies out of an industry and the really good ones are a spec of gold in a sea of sand. How many bad movies are made in Hollywood for every great movie? Knowing that now look at how many movies are made in Romania. You're smart and you get the logic.
    Ar for Romania as a tourist destination: it all depends on personal tastes. I can travel for years in Romania and not see all the things worth seeing. But I can say the same thing about Greece, Italy, Austria, Germany, Croatia and Norway witch I visited personaly. I can go back to any of those countries and enjoy seeing new places any day. To half of them I went with a bunch of friends from Boston who call me "Mr.LostGuide" for my habit of saying "let's go there, it looks interesting" and findind out of sight, super nice locations that aren't in the comercial tourist books. We met accidentally the first time and they faithfully came the next five years to the places I went. 2011 is Barcelona. :)
    As for Romania - trust me the only thing trully dark and gloomy about it is the politicians. And be honest with me now - are your politicians a breath of fresh air and do they put a smile on your face when you wake up monday morning ? If yes - let me know the state where u live - I'm moving in.
    Just a few pieces of advice if you ever want to visit Romania :
    1.(this applies to more than just Romania) - Get directions and a guide from the local small tourist agencies - they know more about their region than the national wide or international ones.
    2.(this applies to more than just Romania) - Find a friend there or get someone u know recomend you a person in the area you are going to visit - for advice - they know the best places to eat and know the local rules and place. They might also direct you to great places not on the regular tourist maps.
    3. Look on the internet and document yourself about gipsies !! There are simple ways to identify them and avoiding them can keep you out of various kinds of trouble.
    4. You are not allowed to take into the US a lot of stuff from romania ( food, wood products, etc ... ). US Customs regulations !! Learn them. I'd hate to see another american pay the transport fees for an entire suitcase of delicacies and just throw it away on Dulles.

     

  68. Anonymous Said,

    Well, this is what sells well and brings awards for the Romanian filmmakers. As someone said before - it's actually because the Western countries like to patronize us and feel better by looking down at us, oh, what a shithole, omg, we should give the poor them a little award and feel better about ourselves, how generous and charitable we are...

    the Americans sell the American Dream, the Romanians sell the Romanian nightmare - that's the only difference.

    ana
    ivasana@yahoo.com

     

  69. Anonymous Said,

    i am from west bucovina, which i guess is one of the best places in romania - the differences in wealth and education are lesser than in the rest of romania, nature is incredible, roads are good, people are beautiful, there are so many blondes and gingers and most inhabitants are ukrainian and polish ethnics.

    now... romania is WAY more diverse than ANY western country. romanian countryside is in the middle ages, romanian small towns are in the soviet 50s, romanian cities are ok in the centre, bucharest used to be a shithole, i still don't like it, but i've heard it's changing (still a shithole)

    differences between people are way bigger than in the western world. in both wealth and education. especially in education. and romanian ARE violent. they drink a lot, they are frustrated, they work more hours a year than the westerners for ten times less money, the prices are comparable to western europe, HOSPITALS SUCK (too bad i can confirm this after last summer), grosso modo you have to bribe everyone everywhere to get anything

    plus, young people can't dream to buy an apartment. prices were artificially brought to much higher values than the real one. and the rent is too high for our wages (imagine paying at least 150 euro for a room in an apartment while gaining 200 a month)

    still many romanians stick with this shitty place. anyway, neighbour ukraine, bulgaria, moldova, are worse. this year, 2.8 million romanians left the country, wages were cut by 25% in general (10 to 30 % at my workplace), prices got higher

    honestly, there is no reason for someone in the crowd staying here, unless you're the son of a chief, be it local, regional, national...

    i forgot speaking about the gypsies. imagine they're WAY WAY less educated than romanians. and they grow VERY fast in numbers. almost none goes to highschool, not to mention college. in general they stink, they steal, you can read on their faces the threat. THE WAY IS TO EDUCATE THEM. BUT FIRST, EDUCATE THAT GOOD PERCENTUAL OF ROMANIANS THAT MAKE ME ASHAMED I GOT A ROMANIAN CITIZENSHIP

    i am afraid for the future of the beautiful, blonde, intelligent bucovina, in this messy romania

     

  70. danTheman Said,

    You always get best drama out of Romanians by insults ;).
    Evidence 1990's Tune in Tomorrow by Jon Amiel ;).
    The thread that keeps giving ..
    d

     

  71. Ah, yes, Dan, if you told me a year ago that my little post which actually satirizes American cultural insensitivity and boorishness would still be drawing outrage and, apparently, inspiring Romanian national pride, I would've laughed in your face. I guess that's what happens when you take me out of context....

    By the way, didn't Tune in Tomorrow skewer the Albanians, not the Romanians?

     

  72. danTheman Said,

    Albanians, Romanians , Bulgarians, Mongolians - don't get hung up on details!. Grubby, mean eyed, gold toothed, vodka swilling ex Soviet enemies of peace, freedom, dental hygiene and ordinary rendition.
    If it weren't for their long limbed competitively priced women no self-respecting westerner would go there !.

     

  73. @ Prince Gomolvilas
    judging a country by 2 movies?! common , you seem smarter than that :)) i'm Romanian, i too didn't like the movies you've mentioned, I totally agree they're not doing much for the Romanian image.. but they were not meant to be advertising spots or documentaries... these were art films, the product of a subjective point of view, each director had his own story to tell and more or less talent.... on the other hand, some of the awards received by these movies were actually given by your "opposite" - foreigners who think it's cool to appreciate eastern abortion movies, being afraid not to embrace ethnic diversity...... maybe all big festivals have such "pity" awards for the struggling, less fortunate "brothers". that makes them pretentious too, even though the approach is different from yours. at least you're funny and more sincere :))

    anyway...some are scared of Muslims, some have a fetish for Asians, some disrespect Romanians... so what?! it's not worth the trouble to make everybody like you.... dear Gomolvilas, don't you love Romania or at least try our food? no biggie, life goes on :))

    @ Louise Larsen and the likes of you
    dear lady, some may think you're paranoid... good luck hiding the side effects of your medications and your xenophobia behind funny colourful remarks. being too content with your own little life, being a prisoner of your prejudice is pretty sad.

    kisses & hugs

     

  74. Anonymous Said,

    romania is a shithole.
    nice and round.

    and those f#@%*&g americans still demand a visa :)

     

  75. Adrian G. Said,

    I loved both movies… a breath of fresh air within the pure Hollywood crap flooding from our high definition screens. Yes, Politist, Adjectiv really stretched the limits of my patience but still, I couldn’t take my eyes of it. I can’t remember how many American movies I’ve stopped after watching the first few minutes. If you want a Romania comedy, check Silent Wedding (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1194620/). It is an awesome, dark comedy, the kind that only Romanians can make.

    Now, the shithole argument… Any educated, intelligent person can see past movies meant to look shitty. That leaves the rest that don’t match those two criteria. Someone was afraid of visiting Eastern Europe after seeing Hostel, yet, they would go around Texas. I guess they haven’t seen the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, have they? Here I go, I ruined Texas for them! How about a trip to Georgia? Nope, unless you want to be chased and raped by dentally challenged, banjo plucking, pure (inter)bred Americans as you can clearly see in Deliverance. It looks like Georgia is such a dangerous shithole, who would want to go there, right? Really, Georgia’s Tourist Board (if there is such thing) should do something about removing this film from any records, burn the reels in public squares. Yet, what do they do in US? They select it for preservation in the United States National Film Registry as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". Oh man, what a catastrophe!

    I’ve been on many continents, lived in many countries and I’ve realized that shitholes come in different shapes and sizes. As many other Romanians, many years ago I’ve chosen one called Toronto, Canada (long gone from there). I’m not going to talk about the neighborhoods that look quite similar with the ones from Politist, Adjectiv but about the typical ones, the bleak suburban working rat traps. Coming from Romania to live in Toronto is like moving into a sterile, cold hospital. Yes, it’s clean (well, part of it), yes, you don’t starve but it is so dry, humorless and politically correct that you are bound to get depressed for life. This is a country half of the year in winter where kids are not allowed to throw snowballs! Without the company of other Romanians, life there would be terrible. This is a huge contrast with the foreigners living in Romania that find it so nice to live there and are pleasantly surprised to discover that.

    Anyway, your post reminded me that I should never judge a country without actually living there first. For those interested in travelling to Romania, see the Insider’s Guide to Romania (written by an American that lives there, you can find it on Amazon), it’s quite revealing!

     

  76. Anonymous Said,

    http://www.honestpublishing.com/news/a-gay-and-patriotic-romania/

    A response to this article.

     

  77. Warrivar Said,

    this is the situation in pretty much most if not all the old Soviet satelite states. the humorless, bleak, and seemingly gloomy attitude is common given what the nations have endured for the past 30 years.

     

  78. Anonymous Said,

    Romania= roman occupation of the local Dacian population, it still posses 70% of the Latin words, the most of any Latin language.Later,the country has been splited in 3 for 1000+ years Transylvania in the middle under austro-hungarians, Moldova to the east paying tribute to the Turks after fighting them for hundreds of years. Stefan the Great won 44 battles in his reign and build a monastery for each battle. Moldova vas faced with all the migratory invasion possible... At the South Wallachia had similar faith. They united in 1980, the Capital of united country was called the little Paris. Then the communism, then after,.then now. I traveled the country, being a student at Geography College Cluj, great city in the heart of the country. It's history goes back to the roman times, 200 AC, and it was a medieval important center under the Austro-Hungarian. I bought an antique wooden geographical globe from Las Vegas, and Cluj was among the few cities world wide represented! I lived in Turda, a town close to Cluj, which was the historical center of Legiunea v Macedonica, army who's citadel's remains are highly visible in the present. All around there are cities full of history and breath taking landscapes: Sibiu named capital of UE through rotation, Brasov in the heart of mountains, Sighisoara a medieval city,Bran which has one of the Dracula castles and wonderful crafts for sale in an exquisite landscape, Rosia Montana which has the famous excavation made by Romans in their search for gold and the only remains known of the written roman law.In the west: Oradea. Satu Mare, Arad, Timisoara, have elements of fine architecture and and hot natural springs for various problems, and exciting night life, Orsova where Danube cuts trough high mountains at it's impresive entrance in the country. Towards south Hunedoara is another splendid medieval castle holder and a neighbor of dacian ruins witch date 220BC at Orastie. Targu Jiu, the residence of the famous Brancusi sculptor artistic creation, Curtea de Arges with Romania's most beautiful monastery and on the road of the most serene mountain-top roads in Europe,Transfagarasanul, and in a short distance, the capital, Bucharest with luxurious mansions, great shopping and multicultural environment(now don't compare it with New York:). Further east Black Sea is above all a fun place to get tan, to listen to some local dance music and to check many restaurants, clubs, bars, stores, concerts. There are many destinations :Eforie, Costinesti, Jupiter, Saturn,and Mamaia which is famous for it's summer music festival. Toward North where The Danube meets Black Sea it forms Delta Dunarii, with various wild life and great fish dishes served in the hotels surrounding it. Looking up on the map, half of the previous Moldova is ours, the other still struggling under Russian influence. In our territory, however, there are most of Stefan cel Mare monasteries 500 years old, with remarkable resistant painting who made it through harsh weather and history. Suceava the old capital of the region with remains of the citadel, Piatra Neamt great city and previous fortress, Iasi elegant with superb arhitecture, green and romantic.I give you less than a half of everything that's great in Romania. People are genuine and friendly and when they say CE MAI FACI? how are you? the really mean it. Most of the young crowd knows english,they are happy to talk with you or give you direction. The crime rate is surprisingly low in most places, and if you get there you will probably wonder why there are not more tourists like my husband when I first took him there. Is better to take a tourist guide so he can show you everything worth seeing, at least first time. If you want more details Google travelwiki and search Romania. Don't take it to heart that those movies show the reality. Those are not reality shows like all this crap that is American television lately, and even if it was there are some intelligible words and not long lines of beeps like in the whatever citywifes or shores

     

  79. Anonymous Said,

    You rasist bastard! How dare you say that Romania is a shithole jsu because you don't like the movies? Take your head out of your ass and think before you make judgements. I was born in Romania, it is a beautiful country, the people are warm and sociable, it is not our fault that the economy is bad, that they don;t have a budget to make a good movie, etc, etc...I don't know where the hell you're from and I don't give a damn but you are a big piece of shit.
    I basically went down to your level...I don't talk this way but since you do I had to speak your language..Shame on you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

     

  80. danTheman Said,

    Their films do irony so well - what happened to the section of the population represented by our latest poster.... ? ;)

     

  81. one of us Said,

    First I want to say hi to all of you!
    I find some of the comments almost amusing as you have an opinion based on 2 movies. To be honest, didn't see them, don't want to.
    I know it's not the best place in the world but I don't think that all US cities are super clean and safe and all Romanian cities are filthy and dangerous.
    I think we have less shooting injuries in 1 year than Detroit has in 1 hour...
    Of course, this is because we all are savages and shoot with slingshots and bows & arrows.
    Romanian people are divided. As every nation on this Earth we unfortunately have also thieves, whores, dumb asses, corrupt cops, corrupt politicians and the list can continue.
    Be honest with yourself. Don't you have your own? You haven't ever seen someone in your country that begs for 1 cent to buy some food. Didn't you ever see someone that sleeps on the street? Didn't you see someone abused by his fellow compatriots?
    Maybe you're not advertising them as much as we are but this doesn't mean you don't have them.
    Need to go now... I'll continue this post later...

     

  82. one of us Said,

    Our biggest issue is not the country. With a little work on infrastructure, public transportation you could easily get to the mountains or at the seaside I think you would surely add a bit appeal for the tourists.
    Something a bit different here vs. what I've seen in other countries is the nightlife (of course just in the big cities, especially Bucharest). You can't get bored. If you want to go out (in any night of the week) you will surely find a place you like, no matter the hour.
    Beautiful women would be another strong plus... :)
    Our biggest issue are our politicians & their entourage... they can't have enough of stealing... you would be amazed how wealthy can be a small part of the population. The rest of us mortals have to work hard to pay their taxes so they can buy to their kids Bugatti, Ferrari, Lambo... it's sad... for the rest of us that work hard to pay our rent, mortgage, food, put the kids through school... but that's life. We pay a huge amount of taxes so we can have roads filled with bumps & holes, to have about 150 miles of highway, poor medical system... but it's our country and some of us are really trying to make a difference and not to be passive about what's going on. After more & more people will understand that the problem is also in their attitude maybe our country will slowly blossom.
    I would advise you to try to take a short trip before judging. It might not be that bad. And the people especially might surprise you...

     

  83. B. Said,

    I just wrote you a reply and I lost it somehow. Anyway, I was saying that your writing has a certain American "flavor"...
    We have Dracula too, you know?:)

    I find it quite strange that you can even question that a country is a shithole only by looking at two films. Those films portray Romania just as much sexual tourism portrays Thailand or Hollywood the US. They definitely say something about the country, but I guess you didn't have the sensitivity to see that. These films point at a painful past and at certain issues that are still there... (Guess what Hollywood says about the US!)

    Btw, congratulations for watching Politist Adjective, what made you go through it? I gave up after 15 minutes for the pure boredom that was taking over. But that makes it just a bad film. With a prize. How common is that?

    It's something very shallow in the way you write. It has that beautiful american glow, in the same family with your co-nationals who, while visiting Norway, stared for half n hour at a plate saying "Attention!There are trolls passing here!"...

    I imagine that if you can use google analytics, you can also use google to search for some images, you can use wikipedia to begin with some info and eventually you can put your butt in a plane and go see for yourself. Careful, book the flight to BUCHAREST NOT BUDAPEST, just a common mistake, of course :)

    I hope this was helpful!

     

  84. danTheman Said,

    This thread is becoming a moron trap.
    We have the politically correct and now the ethnically offended.
    Advice to all. Look up the word IRONY in the dictionary before posting. Else you further expose your ignorance ( sigh)

     

  85. Hi, Dan, you're right! Yes, before anyone else comments, look up IRONY and SARCASM and SATIRE and HUMOR and COMEDY. Thank you.

     

  86. danTheman Said,

    A friend of mine modified Silvan Engels quote to 'It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to post and remove all possible doubt'. as a last warning in his post dialog.
    He says his idiot rate went down ;)

     

  87. @danTheman: wise, pitty you so many posts later.

    For some reason I actually wanted to see the replies. I'll undo that.

    @Prince Gomolvilas: Happy that you can list all those genres, unfortunately I didn't sense any of those in what you write. I guess you guys found each other to entertain, and obviously you don't care about any response, any response can be mocked and any response can be identified with a typology. Including yours, you make it to the typical american highschool bullying smart ass who thinks he's funny but he's plain rude and stupid. :) Congrats.

     

  88. .lulu Said,

    I'll stick to commenting on the blog post rather than the comments which are already too many by now. I don't know if Romania is a shithole, not more than any other country, but, I'll agree on the movie making business. I gotta hand it to you that you were able to watch 432, or Adjective. I would love to see some good comedy but I guess it's not to the liking of artists and such that have to be surrounded by their own cloud of rain and have real dramatic looks. I don't think anyone can give you an honest answer about Romanian movies, nor about Romania. You seem the adventurous type since you go out and see weird movies and write about weird places. I challenge you to come and make your own opinion about Romania, and maybe your own movie. I'll be happy to act as your guide. So, got your plane ticket yet?

     

  89. Contemporary Romanian movies are made for film festivals only, and it seems the Romanian writers nowadays (most of them having lived more than half of their lives in the communist regime) tend to bring that heavy red weight with them even in today scripts. It's almost like a conspiracy in Romanian cinema:
    -I have an idea, let's make a red drama so that no one forgets what we've been through!
    -But we've been making this shit for 20 years now, don't you think it's time to move on and create something fresh and present related?
    -No, Cannes loves drama and this is our strongest drama theme, let's use this shit!

    Romanian cinema has to grow up, mature, because right now it's with a red stick up its ass! I have confidence in future generations of movie makers, but we have to give it some time. Since then however, ignorant people like you will judge this country by its dark and grim cinema only!

    With respect,
    Cosmin Dorneanu

     

  90. Anonymous Said,

    What a lot of negative comments! Many from people who say they've never even visited. I live in Bucuresti by choice (I'm a Brit) and actually like it here. Romanians are people like everywhere, there are good ones and bad ones. Yes, it's still a developing country with many problems. Given the country was decimated by both the Germans and the Russians plus 50 years of communism this can't be a surprise but it's not the peoples fault. The leadership in this country is less than questionable.

    I live in a very nice leafy spot in the city and find it very pleasant. OK the summers can be hellishly hot and winters very cold but they have air-con and good heating systems. Traffic is a nightmare but the city has a cheap fast metro. Taxis are also cheap. Some prices here are quite a bit higher than you would expect, however you can get a nice hotel room or pension (pay by room not person) for the equivalent of £20. The food quality especially in the markets is great in season. The countryside, mountains, Danube Delta are beautiful. OK Mamia seaside is a dump in my opinion, too many people but if you have watched 'Top Gear' then you'll know it's full of Ferraris. Further north though there are 26 Km of lovely white-sanded unspoilt beaches. Bulgaria is not far to drive which is also pleasant.

    Better actually come here to see for yourself before judging by movies and TV news stories.

     

  91. Cristian Said,

    @Louise Larsen Maybe you're of Scandinavian descency...otherwise I can't explain why your comment is so full of poisonous understatements. You're not only xenophobic, like many of your Scandinavian fellows. You had one negative experience and generalize. Well, I can do that with respect to Scandinavian chauvinists as well. We don't have a high level of social security or high economic growth, as it's depicted in Romanian movies. But there are positive aspects...which you certainly cannot appreciate (I don't say anything about "open-mindedness", which certainly does not characterize Scandinavians).

     

  92. danTheman Said,

    Cristian Congratulations ! You win the most ironyless central european of the week award !! I guess you are not of Romanian blood
    as their film at least shows masterly irony.

    You join a long list of humorless politically correct professionally offended internet users whom have dropped in to surprise us
    with their wit and intelligence on their daily trip to or from the Wikileaks 'Horrible American Secrets and Unprotected Sex Mavens' site.

    Welcome, welcome - everyone needs a laugh at the start of another dire work week !

    dan

     

  93. Cristian Said,

    Dear Dan,

    Thanks for the unofficial prize...and for suddenly taking the side of Romanian irony (which I'm suuuure you appreciate - it "emerges" from your previous comments, not from this one, though: it's really not surprising to see the arrogant display of a right-wing bored old man, who still detects all sorts of irony - you can deny your ideological affiliation, but you behave like one of those).

    And what does Romanian irony have to do with the question in the title, and with the splendid comments which you and your Internet-friend (of Chinese/ Japanese descent, therefore "suffering"/ having suffered from discrimination in the politically correct U.S.) provided? I guess "sarcasm" is more suitable a word.

    But yeah...you and Prince Gomolvilas go on blaming political correctness (this is your justification for filling in with lazy thoughts and hasty generalizations), develop your frustrations and find ethnic "scapegoats" for them. Ironically...

     

  94. danTheman Said,

    I suspect Prince is Thai.
    But you really should go back to wikileaks - you were funny for about 2 sentences first time.
    But you havent managed to maintain that standard this time round ..
    (yawn)
    - next nutter please ...

     

  95. Cristian Said,

    Yourself included among the previous nutters, I guess...albeit a bored arrogant one.

     

  96. George Said,

    you people are lame from what you are writing (my english is poor), why do you say that Romania country is lame?? if you're that proud of your country tell me if you can find another country in the world with plains,hills, mountains and sea... see none of them + Romania is pretty nice to visit but as for people damn they suck in every way possible from president down below you know Romania probably is best country in the world to visit but the government is too corrupt to see that the whole nation is in a big hunger for food etc. so please unless you come to Romania in a trip don't comment about it.

     

  97. Madz Said,

    This is an incredibly ignorant and ridiculous reflection on a movie that has won the Palme d'or.

    A difference between typical hollywood cinema and this film for example, is that it is not meant to be mere entertainment or to help any sort of tourism board. Romania was repressed for many years by a communist regime, spawning films such as this that show a true account of what happened.

    It is intended to educate and inform rather than entertain ignorant tourists.

    Romania may be seen as a 'shit hole' compared to your lovely home, however take a look at history and perhaps see why its a place that is still healing from the past before making rude statements about where people live.

     

  98. Oh, noes, I have helped create a monster ... almost two years and this thread does not die

     

  99. danTheman Said,

    As long as political correctness lives - so will this thread .. - I fear it's immortal now ...

     

  100. Nexus Said,

    We have a saying here in Romania:

    "This is a beautiful country, too bad is inhabited."

    That means it's a fascinating place with great mountains and forests and rivers, like an Eden, as long as you stay away from the cities and the people who are selfish, evil and stupid. Despite that, romanians are very smart compared to lets say americans. In fact they see them selfs as smarter than most nations and they are not far from the truth. Unfortunately it's 100% potential, nothing concrete ever emerges. Except for despair and destruction of this beautiful place, one of the last remaining intact safe heavens of nature on the planet.

     

  101. filfiz0n Said,

    I found your post title very funny. I don't sorry about my english but hope you get the point.

    I dont know about which Romania are you talking about but as romanian that I am, I have to tell you a few words about a real Romania.

    First ask yourself IF EXISTS such a Tourism Industry in Romania... haha. The answer is that "Industry" WORD is not exists in Romania. In the real Romania most people do not work. Tourism yes, exists, at small scale and maybe in 50 years from now they will have standards that europeans have in this moment.

    Another special thing from the real Romania is that corruption is already rooted and part of the life. Almost every romanien can be corupted, and give a bribe they see as something normal.

    Second, I think shitty country is the best comparison about Romania. And I will explain why. Over 50% of the population comes from rural place and most of them don't have toilets at home, but make shit in holes dug with shovel. Yes ,most of them make poop in shelter holes.

    Think about how sadic can be in winter to make a poop at -2 degrees Celsius ... you have to heavily dress, put shoes, take a flashlight (because in rural places they even get public lights).

    This is the real Romania, most of romaniens people don't have running water in their houses and not hot shower.

    They'r waiting for new politicians to pay their bills and give them food , hahaha. This is Romania friends, a country of lazy, whores, uneducated people and thieves.

    And you are talking about a bad advertising to tourism industry? hahahaha

     

  102. Ana-Maria Said,

    Since when did movies become the staple for a country's tourism (in American imagination)?  Lets think... perhaps since the Cold War, when the entire Western world revolved around building its consumerist empire, and painting the Eastern block in the bleak, oppressive colours you're so eager to see, judge and repaint it through. I will not jump to my country's defense, because it does not need to be defended. This is a cheap provocation. Nor will I try to share with you my thoughts on what Romanian filmmakers intend to convey in their narratives. Even though you have given it a constipated try, it is clear you cannot read between the lines. Your blog, your "talks," and your "thread that never dies" only show your limitation and condescendence. And talking about constipation... The only thing I would like to say to you about the new Romanian cinema (and the European cinema for that matter) is that the last thing it wants is to resemble American cinema, which robs its fans from any ability to see beyond the "reality" painted for them. Romanians talk about shit that bothers them, and this way they expiate it, while Americans keep it in by painting it with pretty colours. Hopefully, Romanians will never become famous for making sitcoms. I did not want to bother leaving a comment here, but I just could not stand your tone, and the tone it sets across this discussion (which I am sure is amusing to you and your friends).  If you are indeed trying to be ironic, or sarcastic about the “high” (or “low”) culture you’re living in, you should know that you are too subtle. However, you should also know it’s kind of late for that excuse. Who knows though, maybe the responses you got so far will inspire you to write a play, or something. In any case, I hope you never go to Romania! It does not want tourists like you, and it certainly does not want people like you to love it.

     

  103. Giuseppe Said,

    I accidentally came across this post while doing a bit of research on the so called "new wave of Romanian cinema"; for some reason Western critics love to tag things as the "new wave" of something/whatever even if they have no idea if there even was a previous "wave"... or if even there is any "wave" to speak of.

    Anyway, I realize this article is 2 years old, but I'll throw my two cents in so that it may be indeed immortal.

    Just to make things clear, I'm Romanian and I'm from Bucharest. Born and raised in the shithole-capital of the world. :)) It seems to me that many of my compatriots fall into two categories when it comes to topics such as "Romania is a shit hole". I'm not necessarily referring to what happened on this comment section, but I think it pretty much applies here too.

    One of them will slavishly jump on the bandwagon, eager to confirm the shittiness of the country, so that the Great Westerner might give them a pat on the head as compensation for their submissiveness. Most will at no point consider that the "Westerner" may not even be a Westerner in any common acceptance of the word. The foreigner is always right.

    The second one is extremely vocal, as witnessed here. They'll take things personally and try, at great lengths, to convince the Westerner (foreigner) that he is (a) grossly misinformed and (b) an ignorant twat. They will then proceed to turn the stereotypes against said foreigner. Humour, comedy, irony, satire or sarcasm are often alien to such a Romanian, at least where Romanian patriotism is concerned.

    Having done my share of stereotyping and enjoyed it (should I insert tags into the text so no one is offended?), I'll move on to the actual subject of the article: these wonderful Romanian films.

    Personally I think the title of this article is spot on. Most of the movies regularly quoted as being part of the "Romanian new wave" are the very idea of the shit hole taken form in a Romanian setting. The form of almost exploitationist two hour movies. We're talking about a bunch of guys that have found the magic recipe for the "successful" Romanian movie. You just have to take all the stereotypes commonly associated with Eastern Europe in general and Romania in particular and write a script that somehow incorporates as many of them. When you shoot it make sure to include bleak, dirty scenery and to have camera work suggesting simple, honest realism. That's sure to impress those critics and win you a Cannes trophy or three. In other words: give them exactly what they expect to see.

    I'm seriously thinking about writing a script about a band of dirty child beggars escaped from an overcrowded orphanage where aborted fetuses are fed to packs of hungry stray dogs which live near a bedraggled communist apartment building at the edge of a trash heap. I'll get a bunch of my friends to play in it (gotta love those amateur actors) and I'll shoot it with my old videotape recorder that's been sitting around for years. That'll give it a nice realist feel to it. If that doesn't win me a Palm d'Or, I don't know what will.

     

  104. I give Giuseppe's comment a thumbs up because it is definitely one of the smartest and funniest ones in this thread. He's spot on about the fine line between cinematic realism and exploitation, especially in regard to films that are meant to be exported....

     

  105. danTheman Said,

    Our third only Romanian not in 'patriot' mode.
    Another idea for your film - make them gypsy kids and then the left wingers on the selection and jury panels will be too terrified to vote against it even if they hate it. And thats always 70-90% of the panel members.
    In my (rare) optomistic moments I hope most of the classic Romanian 'new wave' films were made by humorous cynics like Giuseppe playing the Eurotrash art crowd rather than earnest film students of the same wet left ilk.
    Thumbs Up too.

     

  106. Giuseppe Said,

    Here's a funny bit for you; funny when considering the title of this article. I didn't include it in my previous comment, 'cause it was already way too long.

    At the 2010 Sidney Film Festival, Daniel Mitulescu, producer of another Romanian gem - "If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle", was asked if there would ever be a movie showing a better, kinder side of Romania(ns). His answer was somewhere along the of "this isn't a tourism advertisement".

    Another answer could've been "there are such movies, but foreign critics aren't interested in them, so I'm not gonna get involved with them".

     

  107. danTheman Said,

    Actually I counted again - there are a dozen or so intelligent Romanian responses but three standout funny.

     

  108. might be the longest lived thread on the internet not about Apple vs. Microsoft

     

  109. Dan, that means there are now three people I can stay with when I vacation in Romania!

     

  110. Giuseppe Said,

    @Dan, I had thought about making the kids gypsy in my script, but I decided against it. That would be plain cynical, playing on people's sensitivities like that. I couldn't possibly live with my self afterwards.

    @Prince - you can crash here any time you're in the neighbourhood, I have the extra room. IKEA makes some pretty spacious cardboard boxes.

     

  111. Anonymous Said,

    i dont know if anyone reds his thread anymore but for those who do, please try to focus on the good things rather than the bad ones. Please take a look: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dZGDy45ZeI

     

  112. Giusepp Said,

    A beer ad? Hmm... how positively effervescent!

     

  113. danTheman Said,

    (All together now (some Monty Python knowledge assumed))


    http://clips.rofl.to/clip/always-look-on-the-bright-side-of-life

    words and music by Eric Idle

    Some things in life are bad
    They can really make you mad
    Other things just make you swear and curse.
    When you're chewing on life's gristle
    Don't grumble, give a whistle
    And this'll help things turn out for the best...

    And...always look on the bright side of life...
    Always look on the light side of life...

    If life seems jolly rotten
    There's something you've forgotten
    And that's to laugh and smile and dance and sing.
    When you're feeling in the dumps
    Don't be silly chumps
    Just purse your lips and whistle - that's the thing.

    And...always look on the bright side of life...
    Always look on the light side of life...

    For life is quite absurd
    And death's the final word
    You must always face the curtain with a bow.
    Forget about your sin - give the audience a grin
    Enjoy it - it's your last chance anyhow.

    So always look on the bright side of death
    Just before you draw your terminal breath

    Life's a piece of shit
    When you look at it
    Life's a laugh and death's a joke, it's true.
    You'll see it's all a show
    Keep 'em laughing as you go
    Just remember that the last laugh is on you.

    And always look on the bright side of life...
    Always look on the right side of life...
    (Come on guys, cheer up!)
    Always look on the bright side of life...
    Always look on the bright side of life...
    (Worse things happen at sea, you know.)
    Always look on the bright side of life...
    (I mean - what have you got to lose?)
    (You know, you come from nothing - you're going back to nothing.
    What have you lost? Nothing!)
    Always look on the right side of life...

    http://clips.rofl.to/clip/always-look-on-the-bright-side-of-life

     

  114. Ana-Maria Said,

    A few decades back there was a trend among Romanian intellectuals to promote certain cultural achievements considered to have been first and foremost Romanian. It was probably the most extreme form of nationalism ever since the interwar period. I will not get into further details, other than adding that it might have messed up the minds of lots of people, and its legacies can be seen in videos such as the one posted by the last “anonymous” fly you guys have caught in your “web”. If you google “protochronism” you’ll get a larger picture of this phenomenon.

    @Anonymous: it’s always good to focus on the bad side! Otherwise we become narcissists and fanatics. One of the coolest lessons I’ve learned so far is that “a good friend tells you when you’re wrong.” That’s what criticism should be all about, and that’s how I also see patriotism.

    @Giuseppe: about your film, I’m afraid someone else has done that already about a decade ago (minus your dystopic vision of dogs feeding on fetuses - however, even that might already sound a bit cliché, or at least too familiar, for some). The only “problem” of this film is that it’s not called fiction (it’s actually stranger than that), and it’s been done by an English woman. Her name is Edet Belzberg. Nevertheless, it’s as unsettling as some of the more recent Romanian films are. Gotta give it to you though: you’ve led this discussion to graze on different pastures. (hopefully)

    @DanTheMan: I’m really curious to know from where you’re getting your information about the political color of the European film festivals’ jury panels. If anything, I think it actually goes the other way around. When it comes to strategies for who gets the prize and for what, the reality is much grimmer than what you attempt to picture. I also find it extremely amusing that each time someone invokes the Cold War, there must be someone else who jumps at categorizing the former as a leftist. There can be (and most certainly are needed) more forms of political imaginings than just left, right and center, you know? I encourage you however to check out the Romanian new left. There is a very vocal group of people (to put it in Giuseppe’s words, even though they are not as hysterically “vocal” as I may have been), and their most prominent publication goes by the name “Critic Atac” (it’s an open source). You’ll be surprised to notice that they are far less closer to political correctness than you could possibly imagine, and more importantly, engage themselves (and others!) into the type of criticism I mentioned way above. I dare you to enter into arguments with them.

    @Emil: really! you should thank Giuseppe for resuscitating the monster that you helped to create. Because of him you guys were able to bring yourselves back into your self-congratulatory mood.

    @Prince: here I am, falling prey to your trap, and giving you more inside information about Romania(ns). Did you start writing that play yet?

     

  115. @Ana-Maria: "your self-congratulatory mood" ... care to elaborate ? as far as I can see nobody is being self-congratulatory ... I am only annoyed that state subsidies are helping productions that, had they been published in another country, would have constituted a casus belli ... for example, in 1870 France declared war on Prussia for lesser insults. If you feel offended by anything written in this tread, the film that served as a pretext must make you really mad :)

     

  116. Ana-Maria Said,

    “self-congratulatory mood” is about how you guys pick on some people who end up commenting here, and about how you strive to demonstrate in what particular way your clique is above everyone else who lands in here. to name a few examples: remarks like ‘next nutter,’ ‘thumbs up,’ all sorts of awards you give to each other (just look retrospectively at this stuff), do not invite to further conversation. they’re simply rude statements, cannot even be considered rethorical. and what irritates me the most is that you pride yourselves with building up the longest-lived comment thread in the history of the internet. i hope you know that the main reason why people end up here is because this page comes up among the first when you search for stuff on “romanian cinema.” furthermore, i think that Prince capitalizes on the fact that the romanian public has ambivalent reactions towards these new films. As to why these reactions happen, there are many factors that came into play. One of them is the bloody protochronism, the phenomenon I mentioned in my previous comment. the whole deal and its implications are complicated and messy. i do not mind criticism (as i said before, i welcome it, and i’m happy when people engage in it), but what happens here it’s too far away from what criticism and dialogue should be. it has a very distasteful condescending flavor. it’s like you guys are waiting around the corner for people to come by, to trip them up and to bully them.

    films do not make me mad anymore (i’m thankful to have grown out of this). they should give people stuff to think about, because they’re a form of storytelling that refracts social change.

     

  117. Anonymous Said,

    Here's the geographical/economical Romanian situation:

    Wallachia (the southern part of Romania) is indeed a shithole, full of gypsies (i'm not being racist btw, that's where they live and most of them, well you know...) and poor post-communist concrete blocks. The exception here is Bucharest, of course. Considering it has a population of about 2 million, you can sure find it's beautiful parts (do a google search for Lipscani for example)

    Moldova (not the country, the north-east part of Romania) is quite decent...full of rich history. people however are quite poor here, and with the exception on Iasi, most of the cities here simply suck (I apologize to my fellow Romanians, but that is my opinion)

    Transylvania, which I'm sure most of you have heard about, is the most progressive part of Romania. In fact, the bigger cities in Transylvania (Timisoara, Cluj, Brasov and Sibiu) look quite the same as any decent Western European city. People are also nicer and the quality of life is higher.


    So, to summarize. Yes and No, Romania is partly a shithole! But it's slowly growing out of it. If you plan to visit it, I suggest Timisoara, Bucharest, Cluj and Sibiu in that order. There's no way you can't find something to do in these cities...

    If you plan to see the real fucked up Eastern Europe, I suggest countries like Belarus, Modlova, Ukraine, Bulgaria (to some extent), etc...but hurry, the fuckers are starting to wake up over there as well...overall Eastern Europe and Romania (which is geographically recognized as Central Europe btw) is not as portrayed in those films (which I love). The medium wage in Romania is around 600 Dollars. That's quite horrible, but considering that half the globe lives with less than 20 dollars per month, well you know...you do the math...

     

  118. achim Said,

    I'm 13, from Romania.

    I wrote two books- seriously now.

    I am myself pissed off by this "shithole"- I love that term.

    Maybe I can change a few things- I'm working on a feature lenght DVD movie right now, and I am proud to say it is fast paced and not Romanian style at all- no more drama for ya momma kind of movies.

    Wish me luck and as soon as it's in stores I'm busting out of the hole!

     

  119. For anyone who still follows this thread, I just posted an epic and amazing update: "Romanian Karma; or: How I Became an Authority on South East European Cinema in a Matter of Days."

     

  120. Achim Said,

    Alright listen up everybody!

    My movie is COMPLETE- you got it- no more "fine" jokes only those critics seem to understand. My movie is complete and I think it'll make a difference.

    Me and some friends are working on a teaser site, which is
    www.synd3.blogspot.com you can also see the teaser trailer we've done as well. I guess it will be out in a few weeks.

    Now it's time the kids kick some bottom to the so- called moguls.

     













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