Oscars: Romania Selects 'Sieranevada' for Foreign-Language Category

Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival

A Romanian film has never been nominated for the foreign-language Oscar.

Romania has submitted Cristi Puiu's Sieranevada, which was part of the official selection of the Cannes Film Festival this year, in the race for the best foreign-language Oscar.

Set just days after the attack on Charlie Hebdo in Paris, the film focuses on a family gathering following the death of its patriarch.

But the commemorative gathering turns out different from what was expected, with conversations digressing to various subjects, including the Paris attack. Starring Mimi Branescu, Judith State, Bogdan Dumitrache and Dana Dogaru, Sieranevada is scheduled to open in theaters in Romania on Sept. 9.

Following the Cannes premiere, Sieranevada was screened at the Jerusalem Film Festival, Munich Film Festival, Transilvania International Film Festival and Sarajevo International Film Festival.

Puiu told The Hollywood Reporter it was an "honor" to have been chosen by Romanian film critics as the country's nomination for the best foreign-language Oscar.

"This is an very important prize but cinema and trophies are not synonymous," he added. "I hope that Romanian directors will make films for the love of cinema and filmmaking. If one wins a prize that is perfect, if not that is also perfect. Plenty of great directors never won an Oscar."

Commenting on the fact that Romania had never yet won an Academy Award or nomination, Puiu said: "There is enough time. Romania is a young cinema - I would say dating back 50 years to the 1960s. Compared with cinema in America, Russia, France, Germany, Italy and elsewhere, it is young. I hope the world does not end this year or in the next couple of hundred - we still have time."

Puiu's previous movies took part in Cannes' Un Certain Regard section twice, and his 2005's Moartea domnului Lazarescu (The Death of Mr. Lazarescu) won the section's main award. The Death of Mr. Lazarescu was also Romania's submission in the best foreign-language film Oscar race.