Romanian cinema at Toronto International Film Festival 2016

There is no shortage of Romanian cinema at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival. And that’s the way it should be!

Sieranevada - by Cristi Puiu (foto source: imdb)
Sieranevada – by Cristi Puiu (foto source: imdb)


Director Cristi Puiu is back with Sieranevada – misspelled intentionally – an apartment drama just short of 3 hours that was nominated for Palme d’Or at Cannes earlier this year. Mr. Puiu is well known in Canada for 2005’s “The Death of Mr. Lazarescu”; here is a recent interview that will give you some context before watching Sieranevada.

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Scene from Graduation - by Cristian Mungiu (source: TIFF website)
Scene from Graduation – by Cristian Mungiu (source: TIFF website)

Cristian Mungiu returns to TIFF with Graduation – it added  the Best Director at Cannes 2016 award to Mungiu’s already solid resume.

Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) won the Best Director prize at Cannes for this terse, percolating drama about a Cluj physician who goes to highly questionable lengths to ensure his daughter’s academic success.

(source: TIFF website)

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Another Romanian director returning to the festival is Adrian Sitaru, with The Fixer:

A headline-grabbing sex scandal gives a Romanian trainee at a French news network an opportunity for his big break, in this charged moral drama from Romanian director Adrian Sitaru.

(source: TIFF website)

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Toronto based, Romanian born (Timisoara) composer and musician Michael Vuscan was in charge of the sound and composed the score to what promises to be the hottest local story at TIFF 2016: Mostly Sunny. This documentary is centered on an Indian origin, former adult-film actress turned Bollywood star from … Sarnia, Ontario! Another Romanian, Decebal Dascau, was the film’s editor.

Here’s a quote from the producer Mongrel Media website:

Growing up in small-town Sarnia as the daughter of strict Sikh parents, no one anticipated Sunny Leone’s remarkable transformation into an adult film star and Penthouse cover girl – not even Sunny herself. More astonishing still, Leone has reinvented herself in India as a mainstream reality TV star and Bollywood actress beloved by millions of men and women, despite widespread awareness of her spicy past. MOSTLY SUNNY PARTLY CLOUDY asks what makes Leone tick, and explores the birthplace of the Kama Sutra’s paradoxical relationship with sex.

Mostly Sunny - a documentary by Dilip Mehta, scored by Michael Vuscan, premieres at TIFF 2016
Mostly Sunny – a documentary by Dilip Mehta, scored by Michael Vuscan, premieres at TIFF 2016. Source: TIFF website

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A 20-minute short called All Rivers Run To The Sea marks the TIFF debut for Romanian director Alexandru Badea, still a student at the Caragiale Academy of Theatrical Arts and Cinematography in Bucharest. The film will be projected part of the Short Cuts Programme 04.

Stung by the absurd administration process regarding the practicalities of his mother’s passing, Radu is having a hard time in this beautiful and evocative examination of what it means to say goodbye.


(source: TIFF website)

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And finally, a 7-minute short about Romanian sculptor Brancusi  – A Brief History of Princess X – will be projected part of the Short Cuts Programme 11. It is directed by Gabriel Abrantes.

Commissioned to create a bust of Napoleon’s great-grand-niece Marie Bonaparte, the sculptor Brâncusi instead delivered a bronze phallus. Thus begins a lively historical tour covering the early days of modernism, the emergence of psychoanalysis, and the nascent study of female sexuality.


(source: TIFF website)

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