For the People

As far as I am aware, this is the first time in history that Transnistria has ever appeared on a fictional TV program or movie (in English).

Umbre

Even though I’ve had a TV and Film category on the blog for more than five years, there’s a pretty good reason why there aren’t many entries. Simply put, most Romanian-language TV and movies are pretty bad. That’s why I was quite excited when I heard about Umbre (Shadows). Filmed in Romania with real Romanian…

Spyder, Spyder, Burning Bright

Here’s a question for you – What if an international film star traveled to Romania to shoot a movie and nobody cared? Well, of course, that’s exactly what happened last week. As far as I can tell, the entirety of the vaunted Romanian press paid zero attention to the fact that a scene for a…

Comrade Detective

I heard about this a few months ago, but I was hoping it was just standard Hollywood talk (i.e. bullshit) and would never come to pass. Unfortunately, I was wrong as the trailer has now been released. I suppose the “good news” is that they hired a couple real Romanian actors to add some “authenticity”….

The Moldavian Wedding Massacre

My friend Matt recently published an excellent primer on weddings in Romania (and Moldova), and it reminded me of one of the weirdest episodes of television ever broadcast in the United States. Way back in 1985, at a time when Romanians were suffering from severe energy and food shortages in an effort to pay back…

The First Movie Ever Made

Last week the 15th annual TIFF film festival kicked off in my old hometown of Cluj-Napoca. It reminded me of a story that I’ve wanted to tell for a long time. If you ask a film buff or historian of motion pictures about the world’s oldest movie, they’ll probably mention names like Thomas Edison, the…

Rusty Broken Pot, Meet Kettle

Sometimes it truly is amazing how serendipitous the Unsleeping Eye is. Just a few days after writing Pot Calling Kettle about how Romania is planning on spending untold millions of Euros to broadcast Russian-language propaganda into Moldova, I came across this: The EBU’s Director General, Ingrid Deltenre, has written to Romanian Prime Minister Dacian Cioloş…

Romania’s Best High Plains Comedy

All the grand poobahs of the film world continue to heap praise on the film Aferim: It’s post-medieval (early 1800s, actually) Wallachia, and the two chatty riders we meet are mercenary “constables” traversing a peasant landscape of plague, frontier justice, and gypsy slaves. Haven’t seen it myself but honestly, it sounds terrible. In the past…

Indian Director Freezing His Nuts Off in Romania

My Twitter feed has been exploding lately as a popular director named Vikhram Bhatt has been howling about winter while shooting on location near Sinaia: [Bhatt] is all praise for the local crew who are hospitable and helpful, teaching their `brave’ Indian counterparts how to survive the Transylvania winter. “They are telling us what food…

The Experimenter

Over the Christmas holidays, I watched the movie The Experimenter, a quasi-semi-sorta-documentary about Stanley Milgram. The film was rather quirky and dry, but it did mention that Milgram was half Romanian, and there’s a scene about halfway through where an actor with a thick (fake) accent talks about the (real) atrocities that the Iron Guard…

NYT reviews ‘The Treasure’

Wow, another dark and depressing film about Romania’s past? Gee, what a shocker! “The Treasure” is [Costi’s] fourth feature — take place in the thoroughly disenchanted world of post-Communist Romania, and the attention he pays to that world is measured and meticulous. He favors extended takes, medium- to long-range shots and minimal camera movements. Rather…

Survivorman Les Stroud in Romania

Word Count: 523 The other day, I was surprised when the Unsleeping Eye alerted me to the fact that a popular survivalist had filmed not one but two episodes in Romania. The show is called Survivorman, featuring the legendary Les Stroud, and Season 7 Episodes 2-3 were billed as Les doing some survival in “Transylvania”….