moderator: Dan Fainaru
Cristian Mungiu is a director, screenwriter, and producer. He was the first-and so far only-Romanian director to win a Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, an honor he received in 2007 for his film 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days. Mungiu's international career was in fact launched in Cannes, with his 2002 feature debut, Occident. A story of people from Central Europe attempting to make it to the West, the film was screened as part of the Director's Fortnight section. A decade later (following the success of 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days), his Beyond the Hills, based on the work of author Tatiana Niculescu Bran, captured an award at Cannes for Best Screenplay, as well as awards for Cristina Flutur and Cosmina Stratan in the Best Actress category. The film was also recognized by the European Film Academy, the Caesars, Italy's David di Donatello Awards, and the European Parliament's LUX Awards. At this year's Cannes Festival, Mungiu screened his latest work, Graduation (Best Director). Mungiu's intimate stories, which explore issues of enslavement and alienation, deal as much with changes in Romanian society at the turn of the century as they do with the human condition itself.