Post-Communist Romanian cinema: context and the turn to realism
thesisposted on 23.05.2021, 15:45 by Dana Iliescu
"Romanian cinema needs to start again from scratch. It has to regain a sense of everyday reality and it has to render truthfully an important slice of recent history which has been horribly falsified. A blast of Neorealism is practically a moral obligation for our cinema at this time in its history." - Eugenia Voda, film critic, 1995. Romanian film critic Eugenia Voda has made this nearly prophetic statement only five years after the end of Romania's communist regime. Yet more than prophetic, her remark was an appeal to filmmakers, and their conscious as well as conscientious sense of truth. Although more than ten years have passed since, her words often resonate in close association with recent Romanian films and their honest representation of social reality, unique in the history of Romanian cinema. But to what extent is recent Romanian cinema a national cinema? Given the Western history of analysis of foreign cinematic productions, any current examination of non-Western films within a Western theoretical context must be carried out in relation to the prior theoretical developments, debates, and conclusions within the national cinema framework. Benedict Anderson's concept of the "imagined community' resides as foundation in the process of defining what is national (Anderson, 1983). When speaking of nationalist media, Anderson claims that while a nation is portrayed as a community, it is only an imagined one. Members of a nation do not all know each other, "yet in the minds of each lives the image of their communion" (Anderson, 1983, p.6). From this perspective, cinema's popularity and ease of distribution has led to films becoming part of mass communications, and thus it can easily play a role in disseminating both national and nationalist ideals. persisted as a theoretical framework during the development and establishment of film studies as a Western academic discipline.