• A characteristic image, from The Oak: guns and romance under the national tree

Facets Multimedia’s Lucian Pintilie retrospective, which ended this past Sunday, was a bracing moviegoing experience, if not always an easy one. As I noted in my post leading up to the series, many contemporary Romanian directors cite Pintilie as a key influence: indeed one of the valuable things about this series is that it showed where some of the most vital recent filmmaking takes its cues. But now that I’ve seen six of Pintilie’s nine features, I can understand why he’s never developed a bigger following here. His films come across like coded national addresses, filled with veiled allusions to Romanian politics and culture that can be hard to decipher without sufficient background. Yet even on a superficial level, they communicate plenty about the legacy of totalitarianism—and about the ways a culture might overcome it through art.