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THE PAPER WILL BE BLUE (2006, ROU) Movie review, plot, trailer

Radu Muntean may not be as well known as his compatriots Cristi Puiu, Corneliu Porumboiu or Christian Mungiu, but he also belongs generationally and stylistically to the same generation of authors who brought out Romania’s new wave. His probably most famous and best film, “The Paper Will Be Blue” or “Hirtia va fi albastra” in the original, is a typical new wave Romanian drama, shot almost in cinema verite style and charged with subtle black humor and irony. Most films from that period dealt with the events in Romania during the reign of Ceausescu, and Muntean set the plot of his film on perhaps the most turbulent night, the one from December 22 to 23, 1989.

The Romanian revolution is in full swing, in many cities there has even been an open struggle between the police and the army on the one hand and furious revolutionaries on the other. The dictator fled Bucharest, complete chaos, and one young soldier decided to leave his position and join the revolutionaries who occupied the state television building. As Costa (Paul Ipate) decides to desert, the commander of his platoon, Sergeant Neagu (Adi Carauleanu) sets off in search of him, and the situation on the streets becomes increasingly confusing and chaotic. Shots are heard from all sides, so it is almost unknown who is on which side. Information is scarcely leaked to the people, and while the army and police may still be hoping that the old order can be preserved, it is becoming clear to everyone that nothing will be the same.

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It was shot in a classic realistic style, with a camera in hand and this film acts almost like a documentary that follows the events of that chaotic night. Only in the end do we realize that the narration is a bit elliptical, and the whole story was designed by Muntean based on the actual event that took place that night. “The Paper Will Be Blue” premiered at a prestigious festival in Locarno, Switzerland, and had as many as 11 nominations in the Romanian Film of the Year competition. Completely stylistically and aesthetically, this film fits into Romania’s new wave, and at first it could be compared in style to the full-blown drama, “The Death of Mr. Lazarescu” by Cristi Puiu, which appeared almost simultaneously.

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