The “Transnational Turn”. New Urban Identities and the Transformation of the Romanian Contemporary Cinema

Doru POP


The pressure of globalization and the transformations of the international film markets are rapidly changing the recent Romanian cinema. In a period spanning from 2010 to 2014, the paper describes same of the most important transformations, visible early on in productions like Marţi după Crăciun (Tuesday after Christmas) and even more importantly in a film like Poziţia copilului (Child’s Pose). The process, called by the author “the transnational turn” of the Romanian film, is characterized by the fact that urban spaces become more and more neutral and generic and the stories are increasingly de-contextualized. Designed for international markets, these films are changing both the setting and the mise-en-scène, creating a non specific space which is more likely to be accepted by cinema goers around the world. The second argument is the present generation Romanian cinema makers are moving even further, they are choosing to abandon the national cinema. As Elisabeth Ezra and Terry Rowden noted in their introduction to the classical reader on “transnational cinema”, another major aspect is that the recent films are increasingly indicating a certain “Hollywoodization” of their storytelling, and, implicitly, of the respective urban contexts of their narratives. This impact goes beyond genrefication, and, as is the case with productions like Love building (2013), which are using both cosmopolitan behaviors and non-specific urban activities, are manifestations of deep transformations in the Romanian cinema. More and more, the Romanian films tend to look like “foreign” movies, as the universe they depict, the life-styles they are centered upon, are less and less culturally distinct.

Keywords: Transnational cinema, Romanian cinema, identity and Hollywoodization, genrefication, urban mise-en-scène