Mungiu. Cristian Mungiu is the leader of the Romanian New Wave that took place during the 2000’s—the crowning achievement of the entire movement is pretty easily Mungiu’s 4 Months 3 Weeks, 2 Days. Mungiu has made five feature films to date (4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days was his second film) since 2002 (his debut) and I’ve been able to get my hands on three of them—all of them in the archive below. He’s one of the few auteurs left that I have not mentioned that has a masterpiece and that’s his strength, though certainly Beyond the Hills and Graduation proves he’s can back it up and those films deserve another look and may factor into future updates of the best films of the 2010’s.
Best film: 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days. A politically charged, horrifying masterpiece that works as both a film of stunning beauty, neo-realism tendencies, long takes, yet works like a hair-standing-up-on-your-neck Hitchcockian thriller.
total archiveable films: 3
top 100 films: 0
top 500 films: 1 (4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days)
top 100 films of the decade: 1 (4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days)
most overrated: Nothing for Mungiu. 4 Months is the only film on the TSPDT consensus top 1000 and it sits at #573 (again-very respectable for a film from 2007). I’m already comfortable putting it in the top 300.
most underrated : I’ll go with Graduation. So both Graduation and Beyond the Hills are on the 21st century list for TSPDT—Beyond the Hills sits at #16 for 2012 and I think that’s underrated but not as much as Graduation which is way down at #37 of 2016
- It’s a slow-burn film detailing deconstructing a life and a morality study
- Winner of best director at Cannes
- Nearly all diegetic music
- Formally the film requires multiple viewings- there’s some nice elements like the stone that is literally thrown at Romeo’s (Adrian Titieni- who is brilliant) window- essentially caused by his on immoral or sinful behavior
- Reminds me of Farhadi’s recent work as well as cache with the sins of the past and how we treat each other reaping vengeance—I can see elements of the godfather and Shakespeare as well
- Beautiful shot of a mug-shot lineup with the 4-5 fugitives coming in fine and then the two people (detective and Romeo) on opposing sides in the reflecting glass. Very well done
- Need to see it again for sure to see if it’s a Recommend or Highly Recommend but for now I’ll keep it outside my top 10 of 2016 but in the archives quite safely
gem I want to spotlight : Beyond the Hills. After 4 Months I think every Mungiu film has been met with extreme anticipation and the burden of high expectations. I wasn’t blown away with my first viewing but these images here show a film that warrants closer study and perhaps, more appreciation.
- Tableau shots of characters carefully arranged – often at a table, great blocking
- Meticulously arranged mise-en-scene in long takes
- Tension-filled silences
- Slow-burn thrillers as moral realist ticking time bombs
- 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days
- Beyond the Hills
By year and grades
|2007- 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days||MP|
|2012- Beyond the Hills||R|
*MP is Masterpiece- top 1-3 quality of the year film
MS is Must-see- top 5-6 quality of the year film
HR is Highly Recommend- top 10 quality of the year film
R is Recommend- outside the top 10 of the year quality film but still in the archives