His winning the Palme d’Or cemented the position of the Romanian New Wave on the landscape of world cinema. But a glance at the filmmaker’s acclaimed features highlights the tenuousness grouping one generation of filmmakers together. After a series of successful shorts and the solid feature 'Occident' (2002), '4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days' (2007) revealed the breadth of Cristian Mungiu’s talent. An extraordinary drama that runs the gamut from tense, thriller-like scenes to biting satire, the film’s strength nevertheless lies in its profound humanity. This was further explored in 'Beyond the Hills' (2012), which won Mungiu the Best Screenplay award at Cannes and saw its two leads (Cristina Flutur) and (Cosmina Stratan) share the Best Actress prize. They play two friends from childhood whose shared traumas are relived through the strict rules of a convent one of them lives in and to which the other seeks refuge. It is a startling and powerful indictment of religious hypocrisy.
'Graduation' (2017), which was awarded the Best Director prize at Cannes in 2016, returns to a more familiar territory explored by other Romanian New Wave directors – the insidiousness of the behaviour amongst members of the ruling class. Once again, Mungiu’s eye captures the nuances of human dynamics and his wry humour is never far away.