Transilvania grows in stature

'Funny Games' opens Romanian festival

Romania’s Transilvania fest opens Friday with its glitziest year thus far, hosting Catherine Deneuve, who will take lifetime achievement honors June 8, and perpetuating the country’s growing filmmaking buzz.

Seventh edition of fest opens with Michael Haneke’s U.S. remake of the Austrian sensation “Funny Games,” celebrating the master of modern horror in a setting that’s inspired some, the rugged mountain city of Cluj-Napoca.

With some 200 pics from 40 countries, the university town has witnessed a fest whose growth has paralleled that of the Romanian film scene, according to fest topper Rik Vermeulen.

Competish pics from first- or second-time helmers represent indie work with attitude, many of which have already scored kudos, from the U.S., Mexico, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Estonia, Germany, France, Chile, Greece, Spain and Denmark.

Bela Paczolay’s entry, “Kalandorok,” incorporates the evocative Transilvania in a multi-generation road movie.

Meanwhile, the popular 3X3 section, which showcases international cult film helmers, features work from Pen-Ek Ratanaruang, Victor Erice and Alexandru Tatos.

Fest collaboration with HBO brings three kudos-nommed features and a host of rockumentaries, led by Martin Scorsese’s “Shine a Light” to the Doc’n’Roll section.

The Romanian Days section offers world preems along with Radu Muntean’s “Boogie,” which won a berth in Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight, Anca Damian’s “Crossing Dates,” Igor Cobileanski’s “Tache,” Radu Gabrea’s “Gruber’s Journey” and Peter Strickland’s “Katalin Varga.”

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