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Cristian Mungiu Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (2) | Mini Bio (1) | Trivia (14) | Personal Quotes (21)

Overview (2)

Born in Iasi, Romania
Height 5' 5¼" (1.66 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Cristian Mungiu was born on April 27, 1968 in Iasi, Romania. He is a writer and director, known for 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2007), Dupa dealuri (2012) and Bacalaureat (2016).

Trivia (14)

After studying English literature at the University of Iasi, he worked as a teacher and as a journalist for some years.
Cristian Mungiu studied directing at the 'National University of Theatre and Film "I.L.Caragiale" (UNATC)' in Bucharest, Romania and graduated in 1998. Established in 1954 and named after classic playwright Ion Luca Caragiale (1852-1912), the public university has faculties for theatre and film and offers programs in Directing, Acting, Cinematography, Editing, Sound, Audiovisual Communication and Multimedia. Prominent graduates include Lucian Pintilie, Radu Gabrea, Cãlin Peter Netzer, Corneliu Porumboiu, Radu Muntean, Florin Serban, Oleg Mutu, Mihai Malaimare Jr., Dana Bunescu, Cosmina Stratan and George Pistereanu.
First Romanian director to win the Golden Palm at the Cannes Film Festival, for 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2007).
After his victory at Cannes Mungiu received a medal from the Romanian president and the key to his hometown.
He was born into a doctor's family. His sister Alina Mungiu-Pippidi is a noted political analyst.
In 2013 he received the French honor 'L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres' for his contributions to cinema.
Member of the 'Official Competition' jury at the 66th Cannes International Film Festival in 2013.
Member of the 'Official Competition' jury at the 14th Marrakech International Film Festival in 2014.
In 2003 Cristian Mungiu founded together with director/writer/actor/musician Hanno Höfer and cinematographer Oleg Mutu the production company 'Mobra Films'.
Speaks English, French and Romanian fluently.
Member of the 'Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' (AMPAS) since 2016.
President of the 'Short Films and Cinéfondation Jury' at the 70th Cannes International Film Festival in 2017.
President of the 'Official Competition' jury at the 20th Shanghai International Film Festival in 2017.
In 2017 he was awarded the French Legion of Honor in the rank of Knight, which represents the recognition of the French Republic's President for his services to France.

Personal Quotes (21)

I had the experience of working on a film for somebody else, on a foreign production. They were very nice people, but I discovered it is very difficult for me to have somebody else interfere with my film. I wouldn't like to work on anything unless I have complete control.
[on Dupa dealuri (2012)] I am speaking about people who are condemned from Moment 1. There's nothing much for them to do in life.
[on his creative process] In between films I have very long periods in which I am completely clueless about what I want to do next. I have no idea whatsoever where to start. I start having these ideas of maybe I don't know anything about cinema, that I am completely stupid and incapable of doing anything relevant. I'm not this happy, fortunate sort of guy who takes a shower, socialises and is then struck by an idea. I spend weeks and months in the office, thinking, even if I don't write anything. I read books, watch films, talk to people - it can be very frustrating but eventually a spark comes.[2015]
[on touring with 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2007)] The Palme d'Or was a great thing but once I got back home, I realised the reality didn't match the expectation. There was a huge curiosity. People wanted to see the film but I couldn't screen it. I took advantage of this special moment in my life. I was able to fundraise a lot of money and rented equipment from Germany and did something that had been done in Romania forty years before, I toured the film, not in tiny villages where there was no cinema, but big towns where there was no cinema - we gathered more than 20,000 people in these screenings over 30 days in some 20 cities.[2015]
[on his biography] I never had a proper education about films. You have to place this in the context in which I lived. I lived in the 70s and 80s in Romania. I'm not from Bucharest. I'm not from the capital. I'm from a town of half a million inhabitants with a lot of universities [Iasi]. There were some seven cinemas, although not one is left today, but we didn't have a cinematheque. Later on in the 1980s, when I was a teenager, I had a more privileged relationship with cinema through VCRs. VCRs were like a goldmine to have at the end of the communist era. I started watching a lot of films and then showing them in private screenings and even translating them - but it was chaotic and unplanned. All of sudden this unexpected thing happened [the Romanian Revolution 1989]. Even if we were aware of what was happening in Eastern Germany and all the Eastern countries we couldn't figure out how it would happen in Romania. The system was so strong and the secret police were so powerful and had been in place for so long and the whole reality was so distorted. We were all listening to Radio Free Europe. We knew what was going on but it still it came as a surprise. I kept working in the press in my hometown because it was a very burning period and it was interesting time to be in the press. People were stopping you on the street, asking you to tell them the truth after years and years in which the press had been distorted. In four years of studying [in the 1990's at the film school in Bucharest] we never went beyond the 1940s. They didn't have any copies of the films we were studying - it was theoretical. The tutors had a wonderful energy and passion but if you don't watch the films it's impossible to understand what they're talking about I came out of [film] school with very little knowledge of cinema history. [Screendaily 2015]
[on directing English language films] I keep getting a lot of projects from the [United] States but I need to make sure I do it at the right time, so I rather think that I will someday I will find the right book or story and write it myself. I need to write what I do as a director. It's not like the most important thing for it to be an English-language film or an American film. To do a strong film there I would have to live there, because I am very attached to doing realistic films about what I observe.[2014]
[on his biography] I had to do something to avoid going into the army at eighteen, so I studied philosophy and then became a journalist and teacher in my hometown. After the fall of communism, I kept working for a few years but finally had no excuse and said if this is what I want to do I can do it now. So I moved to Bucharest and studied film, and moved up from there.[2014]
[on his films] ...all have some sort of social implication even if it's not direct and obvious. It sometimes speaks about the problems in society, but it's not a pattern that you are not always aware of when you are making it. After you make [several] films, you look back and see that these situations have layers that are about something. 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2007) was mostly about abortion, but it was about freedom and at the same time was considered to be the best film about communism for the creating atmosphere that you could feel, which is very difficult to capture on film, while Dupa dealuri (2012) was mainly about religion, but also about the indifference you can have to people that are close to you.[2014]
In the end it takes so much from your life to make a film, it's a little bit like falling in love. It's happened to you before, and you know that you would like it to happen again and you know what kind of girl you like, but you can't really make it happen exactly when you want it or how you want it. You have to be prepared for it to happen, and when it happens it happens. [2014]
[on the Romanian New Wave] It expresses itself in a radical manner. It is not the subject that matters, it isn't the story, it is the way it is done. It's a new way of making films, a simpler way. Directly relating the experiences we have instead of just picking the kind of story that people expect. There are many stereotypes going around in film today. I don't feel I have to feed them.[2013]
[Masterclass in Doha, Qatar] Ask why you are making the film, for whom you are making it. Ask if the film matters to them and what kind of film you want to make. Unless you know the answers to these questions, you cannot advance. And once you have found the answers, you will find the precise tools to make the right filmmaking decision.[2015]
[on the Romanian New Wave] In the years following 2000, a new generation of filmmakers emerged, who had studied film after the fall of communism, and they had a clear penchant for realism. [2013]
It's important to keep on searching, to arrive on set with the idea that you don't know what the best way of doing things will be. If you are going in the right direction, the film speaks to you. It's more honest this way. Cinema is really a question of honesty.[2013]
[on 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2007)] The screenplay starts from the kind of personal experience that people usually don't share with others. It is the story of consequences that are more often untold, even hidden, but common to many. Above all it is an abortion story from a period of time when such an act was an act of protest against a regime which sought to impose discipline by banning abortion.[2007]
[Dupa dealuri (2012)] Working as a journalist, of course, had an influence because as you can see with the subject of this film, I've preserved this taste for very strong stories. As a journalist, you feel this would interest people, so I'm reading the newspapers everyday, just for my pleasure. But very often I find stories that are really interesting, so I'm just keeping them, lacing them together for the moment when I start writing. There's something else that helped me from my period working as a journalist - a style of storytelling, a style I first created in words. When I write, I don't make any comment. I never start with me seeing something. It's always about something happening. I describe what happens and then I preserve this style in the writing of screenplays and later on in the style of shooting.[2013]
[on Dupa dealuri (2012)] It speaks about a certain way of understanding religion, which I don't consider to be just local. Anybody understanding religion in an extreme way is the same for me. It's about ideology.[2013]
[on Bacalaureat (2016)] There is anxiety when you feel guilty about the decisions you make: when not all the decisions you make are moral, when you are hiding the truth from others. You will have the illusion that people are following you, that your conscience is always behind you. This is what it means to take the wrong step into the world of compromise: a lot of aggression and anxiety. Compromise starts really early in Romania. There is always conflict when you accept compromise. And once it starts it is unstoppable. (...) If you tolerate your own compromise you will tolerate the compromise around you. You will lose the moral power to speak out, because deep inside you know you have done something that is not so moral. We all complain in Romania about the level of corruption without understanding that we are responsible for it. [2016]
[why he has never thought of leaving his country] I want to make films that are deep and truthful, about what I know. You can't understand the people in another country like you do those in your own country. An immigrant can never know or integrate into a culture [as well as a native], except after many years. So I must stay to make my films. [2016]
[on Bacalaureat (2016)] We have lost ten percent of our most brilliant youth in the last decade. Parents want to send their children abroad. The top students are accepted abroad to study [just like the girl in the film] and go. It is a problem. It is a problem if all the trained and intelligent people leave the country. [2016]
[in defense of festivals like Cannes] If we can't preserve this, smaller films might disappear in a matter of a few years. It's really important to preserve the diversity in cinema. Commercial cinema is wonderful, but cinema wasn't born to produce commercial cinema alone. It's good to have voices and points of views... We need to make an effort to educate the audience. [2016]
[official statement as 'Cinéfondation' president] Value and originality have never achieved easy recognition in the cinema. And it's even harder to recognize the value and originality of very young directors. The Cinéfondation has always given young directors the help and recognition they needed at the very outset of their career, so that they could express themselves with courage and find their own voice. [March 2017]

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