Romanian Cinema: Thinking Outside the Screen by Doru Pop

Romanian Cinema: Thinking Outside the Screen, a book by Doru Pop


I Watch, Therefore I Think. This paraphrase to the famous Cartesian dictum hides one of the most impenetrable paradoxes of film-philosophy, which is not to determine if the thinking cinematic machine really exists, but how to enter the inscrutable relationship established between the mind of the protagonist, that of the moviemaker and the individual spectators. The intricate question is who does the thinking at the movies and what is going on in the mind of that thinking entity. Doru Pop, Romanian Cinema: Thinking Outside the Screen

Published in November 2021 by the prestigious Bloomsbury Academic, Doru Pop’s book on the “Romanian cinematic mind” as seen within the broader frame of European cinema thinking, focuses on the philosophical expressions of contemporary cinema. Scholastic and culturally informed, philosophical and erudite, the volume touches on neuroscience to articulate how cinematic thinking is formed, exploring the works of the collective psyche in the modern world.

The book aims at contextualising the place of Romanian national cinema within the larger European art of filmmaking, and provides specific case studies on recent productions such as Proroca (2017) and Touch Me Not (2018). By looking into the works of renowned directors like Cristi Puiu, Cristian Mungiu, Corneliu Porumboiu or Adina Pintilie and Constantin Popescu, Doru Pop investigates matters of “Romanianess” in their cinematic routines, thus locating their cultural roots and philosophical reach within the continental filmmaking system.

A Bloomsbury review by Alina Haliliuc, Associate Professor, Communication Department, Denison University, USA, states on the book: Doru Pop’s book is subtle, astute, and precise, revealing how the cinematic and the metaphysical rely on the non-cinematic and the post-cinematic and the post-metaphysical to facilitate deep thinking and understanding. Pop offers a generous overview of the main questions and points of debate about how movies facilitate thinking. He not only sharpens the existing theoretical and conceptual toolbox in film studies about the epistemic functions of cinema, but also reveals Romanian New Wave films as inexhausted objects for theorizing and criticism.

Doru Pop is a Professor at the Faculty of Theater and Film, Babeș-Bolyai University in Cluj. He owns a MA in Journalism and Communication obtained from Chapel Hill University, North Carolina, in 2002, and a PhD from the Babeș-Bolyai University, based on his specialism on the philosophy of visual culture. He was a Fulbright and Ron Brown scholarship fellow between 1995-1996 and 2000-2002. He has taught a course on Romanian film at Bard College, New York in 2012 and was visiting professor at Columbus State University, Georgia in 2017. At  the Faculty of Theatre and Film, Professor Doru Pop teaches courses on Communication Theory, Visual Culture, Introduction to the Theory and Practice of Mass-media and Mass-media and Politics.