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 IMF bankers, over in America, a soap opera about silly … Continue reading The Moldavian Wedding Massacre

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 Lumiere brothers, Georges Méliès (who shall forever be connected in … Continue reading The First Movie Ever Made

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 to request an “urgent intervention” to save Televiziunea Romana (TVR). … Continue reading Rusty Broken Pot, Meet Kettle

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 10 years I’ve seen only one kind of Romanian film … Continue reading Romania’s Best High Plains Comedy

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 to eat and how we can protect ourselves from the … Continue reading Indian Director Freezing His Nuts Off in Romania