Cinematheques and Videotheques as Political Institutions

by Mihai Fulger (Romanian National Film Archive)

Abstract: This paper focuses on the film curatorship of the Romanian Cinematheque in Bucharest, operated by the Romanian National Film Archive, between 1962, when it held its first public screening, and the change of regime in 1989, a period in which this de facto institution played a vital role for Romanian film culture. In the 1980s, while television was reduced to only two hours a day, on just one channel, broadcasting mostly propaganda, a novel presentation platform was born in Romania: the semi-underground network of dubbed films on VHS tapes. The study examines to what extent these two distribution systems stimulated civic engagement. Can audio-visual collections, either archival or alternative, determine political dissent and, eventually, pave the way for societal change?

Mihai Fulger is a Film Critic and Curator based in Bucharest. He is the director of the Romanian National Film Archive and a PhD Candidate in Visual Studies. He has been a member of the Film Critics’ Association within the Romanian Filmmakers’ Union and of the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) since 2007. He has collaborated with various film festivals in Romania since 2007. He served as FIPRESCI Jury member in several major international film festivals (Berlin, Busan, Cluj, Gijón, Stockholm, Warsaw, etc.).