Classic Cinema Section

The Oak

Apocalypse is now in this edgy, extravagant and savagely funny depiction of Romania in the last stages of Ceauşescu’s monstrous Communist dictatorship. The beautiful and recklessly defiant Nela, whose secret police father has just died, sets off into the desolate countryside with the father’s ashes in a coffee jar. When she arrives at a run-down, overcrowded hospital, Nela embarks on a makeshift love affair with a brilliant, rude and irreverent doctor.

CLASSICS O’CLOCK II, Sunday, February 28, at 20:30 (GMT +2)

English title:

The Oak

Original title:



Lucian Pintilie












English, Romanian


Maia Morgenstern, Răzvan Vasilescu, Victor Rebengiuc

A quote for the film:

A sly people: Romanians cry that we’ve got nothing, yet we always manage.

Selective List of festivals and awards:

Cahiers du Cinéma 1992, Nominee, Top 10 Film Award European Film Awards 1993, European Actress of the Year for Maia Morgenstern Geneva Film Festival 1992, Best Actress Maia Morgenstern Romanian Union of Filmmakers 1993, Best Actress - Maia Morgenstern

Director’s bio:

Lucian Pintilie (1933 – 2018) was a Romanian director whose career in theater, opera, film and television has gained him international recognition. From 1960 to 1972 he was resident director at the Bulandra Theatre in Bucharest. His productions included George Bernard Shaw's Cesar and Cleopatra, Max Frisch's Biedermann and the Firebugs, Anton Chekhov's Cherry Orchard and Nikolai Gogol's Inspector General a satire of government bureaucracy, which was suspended by the regime in 1972. From 1973 to 1982 he directed mainly in France at the Théâtre national de Chaillot and the Théâtre de la Ville where he staged, among other plays, Carlo Gozzi's Turandot, Henrik Ibsen's Wild Duck, and Anton Chekhov's Three Sisters and The Seagull. In the United States, in addition to his work at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, Lucian Pintilie staged Tartuffe and The Wild Duck at Arena Stage in Washington. His films brought him international reputation. Sunday at 6 (1966) won the Prize of the Jury and the FIPRESCI Prize in Mar del Plata in 1966, and the Grand Prize of the Jury at the International Encounter of Films for Youth at Cannes in 1967. In 1968, he directed The Reconstruction (1968) considered by film historians to be the most important representation of Romanian cinema. After the return to democracy in Romania and his return to his homeland, Lucian Pintilie shot several films on his own terms. The Oak (1992), An Unforgettable Summer (1994, Cannes Competition) starred Kristin Scott Thomas, Too Late (1996, Cannes Competition), Next Stop Paradise (1998, winner of the Grand Special Jury Prize in Venice), The Afternoon of a Torturer (2001, Venice Competition). Lucian Pintilie was given retrospectives in 2011 (in Cluj) and in 2012 (in New York).