In This Article Romanian Cinema

  • Introduction
  • Book-Length Studies in English
  • Special Journal Issues in English

Cinema and Media Studies Romanian Cinema
Constantin Parvulescu
  • LAST REVIEWED: 28 April 2017
  • LAST MODIFIED: 15 January 2015
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199791286-0156


Until the mid-2000s the scholarship on Romanian film has been written almost exclusively in Romanian. Its pioneering scholars were D. I. Suchianu and Ion Cantacuzino, who published books on the cinema in the 1930s. Since Romania had no consistent (and relevant) cinematic output until the 1950s, its historical studies came also into being late, in the 1960s. The year 1989 was another turning point in Romanian film historiography, spurring post-socialist reconsiderations, as was 1996, when the celebration of one hundred years of cinema witnessed the publication of several historical studies. Consistent international representation started in the mid-2000s, prompted by the international visibility of the New Romanian Cinema. Since then, English-language film magazines and film studies journals featured reviews of every new Romanian production, and academic scholarship started to yield its first articles. Interest in Romanian film traditions surged as well (both in Romania and abroad), coupled with an effort of the Romanian state to promote its cinema, both new and old. It set up more competitive and transparent financing schemes, supported the launch of a vibrant film festival (TIFF—Transylvania International Film Festival) and, through its cultural institutes abroad, provided a dynamic alternative distribution network and public relations events for Romanian films.

Book-Length Studies in English

As of the 2010s, the internationalization of historical research on Romanian film is still in an early phase. With the exception of Andreescu 2013, the function of the few book-length historical accounts of Romanian cinema in English is mostly informative. The perspectives, however, vary. Cernat 1982 promotes a hardly-known film industry from behind the Iron Curtain. Țuțui 2011a is a brief presentation of a film industry that has gained recognition. Stoil 1982 and Țuțui 2011b reflect the development of the Romanian cinema in a Balkan context, Pop 2014 focuses only on the New Romanian Cinema, Nasta 2013 provides more in-depth analyses, while Andreescu 2013 traces how cinema bears testimony to Romania’s post-1989 development. European, global, or transnational stylistic and industrial contexts are yet to be further addressed.

  • Andreescu, Florentina C. From Communism to Capitalism: Nation and State in Romanian Cultural Production. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.

    DOI: 10.1057/9781137276926E-mail Citation »

    Examines how cinema reflects the performance of identity in the social and political context of transition from a communist to a capitalist order. It focuses on the condition of the worker, women and of the national subject and analyzes films of the 1970–2010 period.

  • Nasta, Dominique. Contemporary Romanian Cinema: The History of an Unexpected Miracle. London: Wallflower, 2013.

    E-mail Citation »

    The first book in English to provide more detailed analyses of landmark Romanian films, from the early silent period to the New Romanian Cinema. Offers an in-depth insight into the work of Lucian Pintilie and closely examines the films of some of the most recent Romanian directors.

  • Pop, Doru. Romanian New Wave Cinema: An Introduction. New York: McFarland, 2014.

    E-mail Citation »

    Contextualizes the New Romanian Cinema in the tradition of European New Waves. Aims to show that the poetics of the New Romanian Cinema were shaped by transnational reception. Includes expanded versions of Pop 2010a and Pop 2010b (both cited under New Romanian Cinema).

  • Țuțui, Marian. A Short History of Romanian Cinema. Bucharest, Romania: Noi Media Print, 2011a.

    E-mail Citation »

    A useful and beautifully illustrated introductory historical survey, marking the highlights and celebrities of Romanian film.

  • Cernat, Manuela. A Concise History of the Romanian Film. Translated by Andrei Bantaș. Bucharest, Romania: Editura Științifică și Enciclopedică, 1982.

    E-mail Citation »

    A brief presentation of the Romanian film for foreign film scholars and cineastes. Informed by the values and the intellectual perspective of the 1980s. Covers film history until 1980. Includes a chapter on Romanian animation and one on documentary filmmaking. Classifies post–World War II films according to genre as historical, political, popular, and auteur films.

  • Stoil, Michael J. Balkan Cinema: Evolution after the Revolution. Ann Arbor, MI: UMI Research Press, 1982.

    E-mail Citation »

    Discusses Romanian cinema in a Balkan and state-socialist political context, comparing it to Albanian, Bulgarian, and Yugoslav ones. Surveys the incipient moments of the industry, depicts its reorganization after 1945, traces the influence of socialist realism on Romanian cinematic poetics, and analyzes some of the most popular genres of the 1945–1975 period: the historical film, the anti-fascist film, the detective and espionage film, and films representing rural life.

  • Țuțui, Marian. Orient Express: The Romanian and Balkan Cinema. Bucharest, Romania: Noi Media Print, 2011b.

    E-mail Citation »

    Like Stoil 1982, Țuțui traces themes and subgenres specific to Romanian cinema within a Balkan context. Some of these subgenres are the bandit film, the partisan film, the epic drama thematizing wars against Muslim invaders, films reflecting on political power and dictatorship, the interethnic conflict film, films about the Roma minority, and the slice-of-life film of the New Romanian Cinema.

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