b. November 9, 1933, Tarutino, Bessarabia, Romania (today Tarutyne, Odessa Oblast, Ukraine).

[C]omic imagination, dexterity in contriving simple plots out of microscopic examination of everyday life, an inclination toward a paradoxical amalgam of the broadest kind of humour with the most refined meditation upon the human condition and the most remarkable perception of social tragedy. (1)

Lucian Pintilie’s latest feature film to date, Niki Ardelean, colonel în rezervă (Niki and Flo, 2003), begins with the morbid and oddly comical funeral of a man in his early twenties. As his body is covered in preparation to be lowered into the ground, a guest with a video camera glides past the grieving family. He invades their faces, filming close ups of the mother while she wails in agony after her son. The cameraman motions to the pallbearers, ordering them to take the lid off the coffin so that he can obtain some better angles of the corpse. They start to place the lid back on when the cameraman, unhappy with his filming, asks that it be taken off again. This routine continues for a few rounds more while the audience is left dumbfounded and in a state of complete discomfort as if they are present, somehow immersed in the scene. This is the gist of Pintilie’s oeuvre – auteur of the absurd, instigator of a new wave in Romanian cinema, tragedian in film and in life.

Through the medium of cinema, Pintilie re-imagines a world just like ours, its people, cultures, histories the same, yet slightly illogical and distorted – a world where the absurd is involved in a duel with the normal purposelessly because the normal is in fact disguised as the absurd. This is the current and former socio-political situation in Romania, mirroring its faults of the past and continuing in the tradition of the absurd. And this is the cinema of Lucian Pintilie, “the first authentic Romanian auteur,” (2) nationally recognized for his unorthodox subjects and bold use of “excessive parody and caricature.”(3) Pintilie’s films have been described as sinister accounts, illustrating hysteric and sometimes, painful reminders of the illogical everyday life of communist Romania. In reference to Pintilie’s most renowned film, Balanţa (The Oak, 1992), Vincent Ostria wrote that it becomes “the pretext of festivity, ramblings, altercations [and] aggression.”(4) This description relates to all of Pintilie’s films and compliments the underlying theme of subdued mania that exists at the core of his narratives and that, ultimately, reflects the perpetual torture of having to exist in an oppressive society.

From tragedian to auteur

Pintilie was born in the region of Bessarabia located at the northeastern corner of Romania that now forms part of Ukraine. Like most Romanian filmmakers, writers, actors and other creative artists, Pintilie pursued his academic studies at the renowned Institute of Theatre and Film I.L. Caragiale (IATC) in Bucharest. Here, Pintilie developed an interest in theatre direction and production that eventually flourished into film and television during the mid 1960s and it was precisely this amalgamation of two quite distinct directorial realms that instigated the Pintilie style – Theatre of the Absurd on film or, rather, Cinema of the Absurd. Pintilie’s narrative style followed in the footsteps of the renowned Romanian playwright Ion Luca Caragiale – master of satirical black comedies that mocked the bourgeoisie. Within his works, both in theatre and film, Pintilie combined Caragiale’s parodical wit with the writings of Samuel Beckett’s Romanian counterpart, the avant-garde playwright Eugène Ionesco. Dominique Nasta adds these influences in referencing the nihilistic Romanian philosopher E.M Cioran, particularly his “consistent pessimism” (5) as a predominant characteristic in Pintilie’s works prior to his forced exile in 1972 for his use of anti-communist themes.

Disregarding the array of international acclaim for his first feature, Duminica la ora 6 (Sunday at Six, 1965) and Reconstituirea (Reconstruction, 1968), Pintilie’s early films were rejected by censorship officials in Romania who accused them of containing “evidence of Western influence.”(6) He would also encounter the same misfortune within his theatrical endeavours. According to the Romanian journal Revista 22, Pintilie’s adaptation of Nikolai Gogol’s Inspector General was banned only a week after its opening night. (7) Though his dissidence was portrayed subtly and ingrained in multifaceted symbolism, films like Reconstruction continued to offend cultural boards and institutions, which, incidentally, were dominated by communist officials.

It was during this period that Pintilie relocated to France, however, with the exception of a Yugoslavian production titled Paviljon VI (Ward 6, 1978), he seemed disinterested in telling stories set in a culture other than his homeland. Upon his return to Romania, Pintilie started work on his next project, De ce trag clopotele, Mitică? (Carnival Scenes, 1981) (literal translation: For Whom Do the Bells Toll, Mitică?), but again due to censorship issues encountered delays on the film. It commenced shooting in September 1979 and dragged on till towards the end of 1981. According to Nasta “… the film’s premiere was not authorised and it was shelved until August 1990, only one original copy being left.”(8) It was only after the downfall of communism in 1989 that Pintilie was finally able to make an impression comeback with Balanta (The Oak, 1992). Gaining a significant amount of attention at Cannes, The Oak facilitated Pintilie’s release from the shackles of communist oppression that had previously halted his creative endeavours.

From hereon the filmmaker embarked on a path that would lead him to become an esteemed auteur working alongside a number of valued actors, both international, such as Kristin Scott Thomas, and a long role call of Romania’s finest actors, such as Maia Morgenstern, Răzvan Vasilescu, Victor Rebengiuc, Serban Pavlu, Coca Bloos and Dorina Chiriac. During a tribute held for Pintilie 2013 at the Bulandra Theatre in Bucharest, Victor Rebengiuc stated in a heartwarming tribute, “For the fact that he persisted to fight the evils of society… I loved him and I continue to love him to this day.”(9)

Absurdity to the point of madness

Pintilie’s debut feature Sunday at Six tells the story of doomed lovers Radu (Dan Nuțu) and Anca (Irina Petrescu), both resistance members sharing a common mission code-named ‘Sunday at Six’. Their clandestine identities unbeknownst to one another, they had previously met and fallen in love, but once their true identities are revealed it proves threatening to the operation. When their superiors forbid them from seeing each other, they ignore this command and spend another night together, which leads to Anca’s incarceration and abusive interrogation. Eventually she is released, however it is not long before she falls victim to opponents, dying in front of her lover. The final moments of the film show Radu on a new assignment, which is gradually revealed to be being a trap. He leads his stalkers to a beach where he makes a run for it. Although they do not continue to pursue him, his dismal fate is implied. Sunday at Six echoes the style of the French New Wave, demonstrating innovative techniques that other neighbouring East European countries had mastered by this stage. It has been justly noted that “Sunday at Six is the harbinger of a new tendency in Romania, where there had previously been no signs of modernism.”(10) With Sunday at Six Romanian cinema sufficiently caught up with other European cinemas, at least for the time being.

Fig 2

Sunday at Six

Assuming a similar aesthetic to its predecessor, Reconstruction is exquisitely compiled of unconventional compositions, theatrical gestures and political machinations that are all set against the mesmerizing scenery of the Carpathian Mountains. The story is loosely based on an actual event in which two young men were forced to reenact their drunken brawl as a form of punishment for their misbehaviour. However, due to the fact that information on the incident was scarce, Pintilie’s narrative treatment of the events keeps an open mind to the metaphoric implications story. In Reconstruction, the aim of the law enforcers is to produce an educative film that illustrates the repercussions of excessive alcohol consumption. But as the plot unfolds, it becomes apparent that the prosecutor (George Constantin) is corrupt, the militiaman (Ernest Maftei) is incompetent, and the professor (Emil Botta) appointed to represent the youths drinks himself into a sorry state The situation begins with a high angle shot of a man lying in the sun with his back facing the camera and the comical-looking militiaman staring down at him while warning him of the dangers of sunstroke. The man sunbathing, a bartender at the mountain resort, reassures him that his skin is of a certain pigment that can evade solar rays. Having made his point, he pulls himself up from the ground, the camera following him from the back as if paying homage to the opening of Jean-Luc Godard’s Vivre Sa Vie (1962).

Throughout this preliminary exchange of dialogue, Pintilie includes single-shot portraits of an old peasant woman, a teenage girl and the militiaman – all are characters that are implicated in the narrative in some way or another.  The militiaman gazes at his surroundings from the terrace of the bar, which we later learn is the actual scene of the crime. He turns and looks at a cargo train leaving the station, hearing the sound of a cheering crowd at a nearby football match. Between the intimacy established with the characters and the diegetic sounds of the serene surroundings –“The setting itself is dominated by an Antonioniesque sense of ‘being there’”(11) –Pintilie invites the audience to become part of the scenario. The militiaman, through the act of observing and the time that elapses in him doing so, allows the audience to absorb the atmosphere and silence of the space, something that is eventually interrupted by the entrance of a loud truck with a broken horn that beeps in slapstick succession as the film’s tone transitions to farce, hinting at a Laurel and Hardy sketch. The truck driver, a younger militiaman, jumps out of the two-door vehicle to assist the prosecutor, who is clad in a white linen suit complimented with a panama hat to display his importance. The door handle breaks off and the entire car full of passengers – the prosecutor and his first in command, the high school teacher, a camera operator, and the two accused, Vuică (George Mihăiţă) and Nicu (Vladimir Găitan) – resolve to squeeze out through the driver’s door. As they hover over the engine trying to disassemble the horn, Vuică, approaches to help, modestly demonstrating exactly how to fix the problem. The prosecutor belittles him by shouting, “What are you now… an engineer?” and telling him to get out of his way. This emphasizes his position in the hierarchy of the group and in society, along with the way he is dressed – his clothes making him stand out amid the drab-clothed peasants of the rural community.



Eventually, the film crew comprised of one single camera operator, who also acts as the director, sets up his equipment in a very detailed and poetically paced rhythm. The youths are instructed to reenact the evening of the “crime” by singing and breaking glasses, but as the rehearsals commence, the acting is poor and both youths fall short of imitating an intoxicated state. In an amply farcical scene, the militiaman directs them to perform a realistic portrayal of the event and to act merry because, in spite of everything, “alcohol provokes joyousness”. His statement is ironic and adheres to the Romanian tradition of absurdity born from the unstable socio-political stages Romania was faced with throughout its history. The militiaman is a government representative—he is disciplined, law enforcing but also simple-minded and thus comes across as laughable with his imprudent manner. This humour is extended to a scene where the militiaman orders the youths to carry out a series of penalty push- ups due to their soulless performance in front of the camera. After their exercise, the militiaman hands them a cigarette, which again becomes ironic because it signifies that he is on their side but then again, that they need to be punished.

And, it must be said that viewed again today, forty years after its realease, Pintilie’s film shocks through the directness with which it attacks the system in its “soft spots”, intelligently and bluntly, even though cencorship was an inescapable reality. (12)

Reconstruction uses the reenactment to mock the absurd nature of law enforcement perpetrated in communist Romania. The idea that the reenactment becomes more and more real, is in fact a prophesy of the progressive invasive tyrrany that would persevere for many years after Reconstruction was released.

In exile

Ward 6 is an adaptation of Chekov’s short story of the same name. The film originally began as a television project in 1973 and later turned into a full-length feature film eventually released in 1978. This moment in Pintilie’s career is complex not only due to his departure from Romania, but because of the work produced abroad. Ward 6 is not given much consideration in histories of Romanian cinema because it is largely a Yugoslavian production. (13) The acting style Yugoslav performers is austere while emotions remain discreet compared to the distorted personas portrayed in Romanian theatre and film. Yet, it remains very much a Pintilie film in terms of the narrative, particularly through the fact that it is a theatrical adaptation riddled with philosophical representations that strangely mimic the absurdity portrayed in the auteur’s previous works. Nasta remarks that this “… Faustian pact renders the atmosphere more and more unbearable and proves again a poignant metaphor for life under a repressive regime.”(14) The film explores the psychological deterioration of a Russian doctor in charge of a mental asylum. His ideal existence and sense of assurance is altered when a political prisoner begins to confront him on an intellectual level, disturbing his conscience and leading to his tragic end.

Ward 6

Ward 6

Pintilie remained loyal to his interest in theatrical adaptation with his following film Carnival Scenes – a film based on Caragiale’s play D’ale Carnaalului. The film proves to be a particularly interesting case study as, in the same tone as Ward 6, Pintilie deliberately assumes the framework of a polemical text – in this case a satirical play that “depicts a world of counterfeit passions and dubious morals”(15) – re-structuring the play into images suggestive of a fraudulent and warped exemplification of the Romania of that time. Nasta notes:

Even though it is set at the turn of the twentieth century, a vaudeville structure dissimulates allusions to the destructive madness of power and the violence of social relationships in a contemporary Romania already in a state of decrepitude. (16)

On the surface the plot is simple and unassuming. It follows the vengeance pact made between Pampon (Victor Rebengiuc) who discovers his partner Didina’s (Tora Vasilescu) infidelity through an address scribbled on a note from her lover Nae (Gheorghe Dinică). It leads Pampon to Mița (Mariana Mihuț), Nae’s eccentric mistress, and the two concoct a plan of revenge that is executed during a grand masquerade ball at the end of the film. Rather than the dramatic events of the narrative functioning as the predominant representation of dissidence, it is the psychological force behind each character that shifts the seemingly unrelated plot into the domain of communist Romania.

Resurrection redux

Three years after the collapse of communism in Romania, Pintilie released his first film in over a decade, the “post-totalitarian opus”(17) The Oak – a sinister depiction of a society abandoned and shadowed by the gloomy past. Based on Ion Băieşu’s novel Balanţa, Pintilie’s adaptation begins with a dystopian portrait of Romania’s capital, Bucharest, documenting the abandoned dogs and decaying buildings as the camera weaves past mounds of garbage in urban swamplands. All these images act as subtexts. They are bleak reminders of the destruction left behind from a bygone era and yet signifiers of something more – the continuation of such a regime still flourishing due to the new government’s re-employment of former communist partisans. But there is a focal narrative that drives these themes into a farcical tragedy at the end.

The Oak

The Oak

The scenario begins with a grim image of an old man dying next to his daughter Nela (Maia Morgenstern) as she lies next to him watching family videos – a provocative reference to the Ceaușescus’ home videos that flooded Romanian television in the 1980s. Her reaction to his passing is extreme as she sets fire to the apartment door when her abusive sister attempts to break in. We learn that Nela is an ambitious and intelligent schoolteacher devoted to carrying out her father’s final wish of burying his ashes under an oak tree. She travels to the rural town of Copşa Mică – a grim place polluted with soot as a result of a carbon dye factory. It is here that Nela meets and falls in love with a local surgeon, Mitică (Răzvan Vasilescu). It is 1988, a year prior to the collapse of communism and the atmosphere is chaotic – something reflected through Nela and Mitică who demonstrate erratic behaviour through their rapid speech, quick tempered reactions and, in Mitică’s case, violence against his hospital colleagues. However, it is gradually revealed that these two central characters are the only normal people in the illogical society that they inhabit.

The Oak is a magnificent social satire which shows the material and spiritual poverty of a sick nation where hospital patients die from bureaucracy, and baby-faced soldiers machine gun a school bus. (18)

The film ends with a fatal tragedy that induces shock at first viewing, but in actual fact, it is a mere representation of a type of genocide that was very real in Eastern Europe – the illogical killing of innocent people green-lighted by government representatives with a thirst for power. Moments prior to the closing credits Mitică, sheltered under a marvellous oak tree confesses to Nela that if their prospective child is born normal, he will kill it himself.

Similar ideas are the subject of Pintilie’s next film, O vară de neuitat (An Unforgettable Summer, 1994), an historical drama detailing the immoral and cruel conduct of the Romanian military administration and its debasement of a liberal-minded officer and his family. Captain Petre Dumitru (Claudiu Bleonţ) asks to be relocated to another regiment after his superior makes a pass at his attractive wife Marie-Thérèse Von Debretsy (Kristin Scott Thomas). The superior officer, obviously irritated at the request, reassigns Dumitru and his family to a rural and dangerous part of the country, the Romanian/Bulgarian border that was in upheaval during the mid 1920’s when the film is set. Although Dumitru is furious with the extreme shift from their previous aristocratic lifestyle, the intelligent and free-spirited Marie-Thérèse remains optimistic at the prospect of educating her children in the quietness of the countryside. However, the peace that she envisioned becomes unattainable as she falls victim to racial prejudices and witnesses firsthand the grim reality of war crimes. By the time An Unforgettable Summer was released it was clear that there was an ominous mien functioning parallel to the themes portrayed by Pintilie. According to Nasta, “The Gogolian derision of Pintilie’s earlier films seems to have been replaced by a blend of nostalgia and irony set against a tragic background.”(19) The film uses a number of morbid symbols to represent the repercussions of corrupt power: Flies appear ever more increasingly and bugs begin to infest the garden vegetables used to make family suppers as the events in the narrative become increasingly absurd and end with a disturbing portrait rendering the degradation of the human condition.

An Unforgettable Summer

An Unforgettable Summer


In 1995 Pintilie collaborated on the project Lumière et Compagnie (Lumière and Company, 1995) which sought the talents of an array of international filmmakers. The challenge was to create a short film using an original cinematograph camera, adhering to a list of rules devised to replicate the style of the Lumière brothers. Pintilie contributed a segment to omnibus film, one that is both farcical and chaotic, and complicit with the essence of his cinema. The scene depicts a wedding party, along with a horse, school children, a group of men carrying a billiard table, all running towards a helicopter parked in a football field while a young boy with deformed legs paces back and forth in the foreground. Pintilie paints a multi-faceted image that remains richly evocative even though restricted by antiqued production methods.

By the mid-late 1990’s there appeared an existential gloom that shadowed over Pintilie’s already sinister themes with the realisation that the ghosts of the past continued to haunt the current governments of the time: “Romanian directors used their new freedom to exorcise the recent past and/or to deal with contemporary issues.” (20) This notion is embodied by a perpetual nihilism is depicted in Pintilie’s Prea târziu (Too Late, 1996) and Terminus Paradis (Last Stop Paradise, 1998). The former uses the milieu of a mining locality, akin to The Oak, as an abysmal representation of present day Romania while Last Stop Paradise examines the failure to let go of the past while Pintilie “widens the scope of his fresco of an agonizing post-Communist Romania.”(21)

Too Late

Too Late

An alliance develops in both Too Late and Last Stop Paradise that mimics the relationship between Nela and Mitică in The Oak – where political dissidence fuels a romantic link between the characters. The protagonist in Too Late, again named Dumitru ‘Mitică’ Costa (Răzvan Vasilescu), is a detective summoned to the Jiu Valley to investigate the strange death of a miner. There he meets an attractive topographer, Alina (Cecilia Bârbora), who assists him with his case. Soon they find that the uncanny events are a subject of unexplained phenomena – an inhuman entity inhabiting the mine. This ends up functioning as a subplot and metaphor of the corrupt political machine responsible for hiding the truth behind the deaths. “Pintilie was criticized for insisting too much on the new post-dictatorial barbarism. However, what was clearly praised was the filmmaker’s courage in depicting inconvenient truths.”(22) Themes and images suggestive of leaderships guilty of replicating past faults are allegorized in Pintilie’s next film, Last Stop Paradise – a whirlwind and surreal romance between two fugitives that leads to a violent finale. Mitu (Costel Cascaval) meets Norica (Dorina Chiriac) and the two fall instantly in love, even though it is a forbidden love that they share. Mitu had previously enlisted and is about to begin his military service while Norica is locked in a marriage with her much older boss. Ultimately, the gruelling and abusive procedures dictated in the military force Mitu to lose his mind. His first vocation is to find Norica but when he walks in on her in bed with her boss, his reaction is to shoot the man dead, abducting a petrified Norica against her will. They manage to escape by train to the countryside where their love is rekindled, but there is not much time left for Mitu as the authorities are on his trail and so they separate upon Norica’s final revelation that she is pregnant with his child. Like all of Pintilie’s endings, Last Stop Paradise remains faithful to the cynical realities of life infecting post-communist cultures – the title itself asserts blatant undertones of real-life nihilism.

Last Stop Paradise

Last Stop Paradise

Last supper

Pintilie managed to create a perfect concoction of post-apocalyptic themes and the absurd with his last three films. După-amiaza unui tortionar (The Afternoon of a Torturer, 2001) is as disturbing as it is sardonic. It tells the story of Frant Tandara (Gheorghe Dinică), a former prison torturer in communist Romania, who agrees to confess his crimes in an interview with a journalist (Ioana Ana Macaria) and a former political prisoner (Radu Beligan). The interview takes place at Tandara’s farmhouse at a long table located in the garden that uncannily resembles Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper. Although the journalist is very forward with her questioning of the delicate issues of the past, Tandara manages to dodge each question and instead rambles on about the least significant details of his past. But there are sinister moments to his history that support his voluntary decision to work as a torturer and these moments are haunted with apparitions of the characters and incidents that are insinuated as having affected him psychologically. As the interviewer becomes increasingly frustrated, Tandara’s disturbed half-blind wife (Coca Bloos) intervenes, ironically enough, pleading for her to stop torturing her husband with questions about the past. By the time evening begins to set, the interviewer has accumulated little information from Tandara and so she leaves.

The Afternoon of a Torturer

The Afternoon of a Torturer

The director has always used cinema as a medium to denounce what he describes as the apathy of a lethargic Romanian society, as well as to criticise both Communism and post-Communism, while exploring metaphysical evil and historical guilt. (23)

Niki and Flo is a particularly interesting case study as it reconciles the themes explored throughout Pintilie’s career, from grotesque caricatures to the bleak and austere. It is only a few months after burying their son that Niki Ardelean (Victor Rebengiuc) and his wife Pousha (Coca Bloos) have to bid their daughter Angela (Dorina Chiriac) farewell, as she has received approval to migrate to the United States with her husband Eugen (Serban Pavlu). However Niki refuses to let go of Angela, using every excuse he can think of, including his worrying about her being pregnant on the plane, as a way to make her change her mind. Meanwhile, we find out that Eugen’s parents are in fact close neighbours of the Ardeleans and as the narrative unfolds it becomes apparent that father-in-law, Florian ‘Flo’ Tufaru (Răzvan Vasilescu), is involved in the life of Eugene and Angela in an unorthodox way. Moreover, Flo is systematic in his effort to remain superior to Niki, consistently patronizing him and disapproving of any claim he makes regarding historical fact. The ending is shocking but the drama of the situation remains subdued. There is no trace of shame existing in the protagonists of Pintilie’s films while the plots remain void of any kind of menacing build-up towards a climatic outcome. Indeed, at the core of each narrative, exists a succession of events that lead to an often grotesque and brutal climax in the storyline, but there is no spectacle or crisis in the finale of each film: “The terrible act of violence that concludes Niki and Flo is there to reinforce Pintilie’s view of cinema as a cry of despair as well as a warning in the face of the cruelty of history.” (24) Pintilie ends Niki and Flo in a pseudo-tragic manner, through the death and abandonment of the characters. Death is as illogical as life, and in some instances throughout Pintilie’s films, life becomes a farce while death makes sense.

Niki and Flo

Niki and Flo

Pintilie’s final film, Tertium non datur (2006) is only 39 minutes in duration yet manages to depict a variety of themes targeted in his previous films. Again, the Romanian army is central to the plot, which is set in a rural military camp at the end of Rumania’s war against the Soviet Union. The narrative unfolds in the weeks prior to these nations becoming enemies, hence, a certain amount of tension is established in the scenario as a pair of German officers are invited to lunch with their Romanian ‘allies’. After a number of awkward xenophobic remarks are made, one of the German officers passes around a rare stamp, which he carries in his possession, boasting about its significance. A short time later the stamp goes missing sending the Romanian officer in charge into a rampage resulting in the humiliating strip search of his men only to find that the stamp had in fact attached itself to a pot on the table. The film ends with a clever twist that prompts a comparative examination between material worth and the significance of human life.

Post-filmmaking legacy

The filmmakers involved in the media-coined Romanian New Wave have often cited Pintilie as the main inspiration behind their work: “When asked what he wants to be when he grows up, Corneliu Porumboiu answered: Lucian Pintilie. Upon receiving praise for instigating the re-birth of Romanian cinema, Cristi Puiu stated that, without Lucian Pintilie, the new wave would never have existed.” (25) Yet, it was only at 80 years of age that Pintilie’s contribution to Romanian cinema was for the first time commemorated in a retrospective in 2012 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. During his introduction on stage, Corina Suteu, the director of the Romanian Cultural Institute in New York, compares the exhibition along with Lucian Pintilie’s presence as “a miracle” – a plausible sentiment considering the obstacles he experienced throughout his life as a daring, authentic and seminal auteur.


1. Odette Caufmen-Blumenfeld, “The Oak: A Balancing Act from Page to Screen”, Literature-Film Quarterly, vol. 26, no. 4, 1998, p. 268.

2. David A. Cook (ed.), “European Renaissance: East” in A History of Narrative Film, Norton, New York, 1996, p. 648.

3. Caufmen-Blumenfeld, p. 268.

4. Vincent Ostria, ‘Réactions en Chaîne’, trans. Olivia Hărşan, Cahiers du Cinéma, no. 459, 1992, p.27.

5. Dominique Nasta, “Through a Glass, Darkly: Lucian Pintilie as Past and Present Role Model” in Contemporary Romanian Cinema: The History of an Unexpected Miracle, Wallflower Press, London, 2012, p. 86.

6. Cook, p. 772.

7. Silvana Silvestri, ‘A Privi Raul in Fata’ (To Confront the Evil), trans. Olivia Hărşan, Revista 22, 11 August 2004, accessed 25 April 2014.


8. Nasta, p. 96.

9. Footage from the tribute held for Lucian Pintilie can be viewed at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o3UAYNHFp9k

10. Nasta, p. 98.

11. Nasta, p. 90.

12. Alexandru Leo Șerban, “Romanian Cinema: From Modernity to Neo-Realism”, Film Criticism, vol. 34, no. 2/3, 2010, p. 6.

13. Nasta, p. 95.

14. Nasta, p. 95.

15. Nasta, p. 96.

16. Nasta, p. 96.

17. Nasta, p. 98.

18. Anne Jäckel, “Too Late? Recent Developments in Romanian cinema” in Wendy Everett (ed.) The Seeing Century: Film Vision and Identity, Rodopi, Amsterdam, 2000, p. 100.

19. Nasta, p. 104.

20. Jäckel, p. 102.

21. Nasta, p. 107.

22. Nasta, p. 109.

23. Nasta, p. 86.

24. Maria Ioniţă, “Niki and Dante: Aging and Death in Contemporary Romanian Cinema”, Film Criticism, vol. 34, no. 2/3, 2010, p. 48.

25.Mihai Chirilov, ‘Închid Ochii şi Văd – Interviu cu Lucian Pintilie’ (When I Close my Eyes I Can See: Interview with Lucian Pintilie), trans. Olivia Hărşan, Dilema Veche, 8 March 2012, accessed 1 May 2014. http://dilemaveche.ro/sectiune/film/articol/inchid-ochii-vad-interviu-lucian-pintilie


Duminica la ora 6 (Sunday at Six, 1965)

Reconstituirea (Reconstruction, 1968)

Paviljon brog VI (1973, tele-movie)

Paviljon VI (Ward 6, 1978)

De ce trag clopotele, Mitica? (Carnival Scenes, 1981)

Balanta (The Oak, 1992)

O vară de neuitat (An Unforgettable Summer, 1994)

Prea târziu (Too Late, 1996)

Terminus paradis (Last Stop Paradise, 1998)

După-amiaza unui tortionar (The Afternoon of a Torturer, 2001)

Niki Ardelean, colonel în rezerva  (Niki and Flo, 2003)

Tertium non datur (2006, short)

Select Bibliography

Mihai Chirilov, ‘Închid Ochii şi Văd – Interviu cu Lucian Pintilie’ (When I Close my Eyes I Can See- Interview with Lucian Pintilie), trans. Olivia Hărşan, Dilema Veche, 8 March 2012, accessed 1 May 2014. http://dilemaveche.ro/sectiune/film/articol/inchid-ochii-vad-interviu-lucian-pintilie

Odette Caufman-Blumenfeld, “The Oak: A Balancing Act from Page to Screen”, Literature-Film Quarterly, vol. 26, no. 4, 1998, pp. 267-277.

David A. Cook (ed.), “European Renaissance: East” in A History of Narrative Film, Norton, New York, 1996, pp. 683-776.

Maria Ioniţă, “Niki and Dante: Aging and Death in Contemporary Romanian Cinema”, Film Criticism, vol. 34, no. 2/3, 2010, pp. 37-50.

Anne Jäckel, “Too Late? Recent Developments in Romanian cinema” in Wendy  Everett (ed.) The seeing century: film vision and identity, Rodopi, Amsterdam, 2000, pp. 98-109.

Dominique Nasta, “Through a Glass, Darkly: Lucian Pintilie as Past and Present Role Model” in Contemporary Romanian Cinema: The History of an Unexpected Miracle, Wallflower Press, London, 2012, pp. 85-119.

Vincent Ostria, ‘Réactions en Chaîne’, trans. Olivia Hărşan, Cahiers du Cinéma, no. 459, 1992, pp. 27-33.

Alexandru Leo Șerban, “Romanian Cinema: From Modernity to Neo-Realism”, Film Criticism, vol. 34, no. 2/3, 2010, pp. 2-21.

Silvana Silvestri, ‘A Privi Raul in Fata’ (To Confront the Evil), trans. Olivia Hărşan, Revista 22, 11 August 2004, accessed 25 April 2014.


Web Resources

Lucian Pintilie Retrospective (links to Exhibition held in New York, March 2012),

Segment from Lumière and Company (1995)

Roger Ebert review of An Unforgettable Summer

A.O Scott review of Niki and Flo

Archival interview with Lucian Pintilie (in the Romanian language)

About The Author

Olivia Maria Hărşan is an MA candidate at La Trobe University, Australia. Her current research interest is focused on East European cinema.

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