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France/Romania, 1992
Directed by Lucian Pintilie
Starring Maia Morgenstern, Razvan Vasilescu, Victor Rebengiuc
In Romanian with English subtitles
Approx. 102 min. New 4K DCP Restoration.

In the most acclaimed Romanian movie of the 1990s, strong-willed school teacher Maia Morgenstern leaves Bucharest for a job in the countryside, toting her father’s ashes in a coffee can and encountering Razvan Vasilescu, “a cynic with an impish grin, who knows that the world has gone mad” (Anthony Lane). The two face trial after trial as they wend their way through the hellish Romanian landscape in the final days of Ceaușescu’s dictatorship.

Presented in association with the Making Waves festival. The 17th edition of Making Waves: New Romanian Cinema Festival is presented by Insula 42, in partnership with Metrograph, Roxy Cinema New York, DCTV’s Firehouse Cinema and Film Forum. With lead funding from the Trust for Mutual Understanding and the support of Dacin Sara, the Romanian Filmmakers Union, Blue Heron Foundation, Mastercard, the Romanian National Film Center, and individual donors.



“[THE OAK] is Mr. Pintilie’s reaction to the 1989 collapse of the Communist regime in his country and his expectations for the future. It begins as a nightmare and ends with a vague expectation of the break of day… Mr. Pintilie seems to suggest that there is still hope for Romania, though it’s not just around the corner.”
– Vincent Canby, The New York Times

“An allegory of the corruption and terror that marked the Ceaușescu era.”
The Guardian (UK)

“A picaresque, half reveling in the chaos, and alive to the thought of a future seeded with hope.”
– Anthony Lane, The New Yorker

"DECADES HAVE SCARCELY MITIGATED ITS POWER… Set in a world so despoiled, a Hieronymous Bosch landscape might seen bucolic by comparison...   Maia Morgenstern gives a performance no less anarchic than the movie.”
 J. Hoberman, The New York Times (read the full review)

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