‘Screen-Social: Screening Romanian Social Transformations, 1990-2021’ is supported by a grant of the Ministry of Research, Innovation and Digitization, CNCS – UEFISCDI, Romania, project number PN-III-P4-PCE-2021-0141 (June 2022 – December 2024). It is implemented by the Janovics Center for Screen and Performing Arts Studies at the Faculty of Theatre and Film at Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca.

SCREEN SOCIAL highlights and exploits the critical intervention of Romanian cinema and narrative television in ten debates relevant to the transformation of Romanian post socialist society, 1990-2021. The analyzed texts are fiction, documentary, animation, short films, and television series. The project advances the findings of more disparate research in film and television studies on this topic and completes knowledge on Romanian society disseminated by historical and social sciences research. It demonstrates that film can offer original perspectives that broaden the comprehension of the accelerated transformation of the Romanian society since 1989. 

SCREEN-SOCIAL considers ten debates regarded by European and North American historians and social scientists as the most relevant for the social development of both post socialist Romania and East-Central Europe. These debates have developed around the following topics:

  • 1.The impact on the social fabric of capitalist economic relations of production
  • 2.The cultural inheritance of socialism, and socialist nostalgia
  • 3.Social distrust and the dysfunctional civil society
  • 4.Social justice, inequalities, a weak state, and its deficient public services
  • 5.The resilience of old elites and the rise of new ones
  • 6.Corruption, delinquency, and organized crime
  • 7.Patriarchalism, gender inequality, and gender violence
  • 8.Human rights and the exclusion of ethnic, racial, and sexual minorities
  • 9.Youth culture and the crisis of the post socialist family
  • 10.Emigration and population ageing.

To study participation in these debates, SCREEN-SOCIAL engages in qualitative analyses of the film text. The analysis produces a portfolio of situations, characters, and tropes that function as an artistic equivalent of the facts, actors, and concepts defined and employed by history and the social sciences, completing and challenging them. SCREEN-SOCIAL delivers a monograph, research articles, an edited collection, various communication materials and actions, and a website. These deliverables serve to accomplish SCREEN-SOCIAL’s objectives O1-O4.

  • O1): A broad picture of the social commentary of Romanian film on key social issues of the post socialist era. O1 continues research on the social commentary of Romanian and Eastern European film. It advances research on the way film originally contributes to the understanding of Romanian post socialist times.
  • O2): An inventory of the rhetorical choices employed by Romanian film in its effort to intervene in social dialogue, and a reflection on the effects of these choices. O2 continues theoretical research on the politics of stylistic choices in Romanian film, and research on viewers feedback and critical reception. It advances both historical research on Romanian film and theoretical research on the persuasive potential of film.
  • O3): A portfolio of digital teaching and research materials on the topic of the project for secondary and tertiary education. O3 continues a practice employed in teaching, and outreach activities. It increases the quality of teaching social history in tertiary and secondary education, and the legitimacy of visual studies in these environments.
  • O4): An incipient exploration of the relevant contribution of the social commentary of Romanian film to the understanding of post socialist social transformations in East-Central Europe with the purpose of developing further research. O4 draws on comparative work on the cinema of the region. It prepares advancements in research in Eastern European film and area studies.