Romanian director who won Palme d'Or praises country's movies

Romanian director who got Palme d'Or at the Cannes said that his country's other films helped him to win the top prize.

"I don't know why this (success) is happening here and now," said Cristi Mungiu, who added that if it had not been for the success of other Romanian films, the chances of him winning were extremely limited.

"If it had been presented in 2001 or 2002 I think there would have been a tiny chance it would have won," he told reporters.

Mungiu's movie "4 months, 3 weeks, 2 days" took the top prize over 21 other movies at the festival, just ended. Another Romanian film "California Dreamin"' by filmmaker Cristian Nemescu, who died in a car crash last year at age 27, won honors in a secondary competition called "Un Certain Regard."

Mungiu has said that his film, a grim portrayal of a girl seeking to have an illegal abortion, shows how people's choices are affected by the political system, indoctrination and stereotyping. The film had a budget of just EUR500,000 (US$671,000)

In 2005, "The Death of Mr. Lazarescu" by another Romanian movie maker Cristi Puiu won the "Un Certain Regard" honors and was Romania's official selection for the U.S. Academy Awards for Best Foreign Film.

In his first appearance in Romania since he won the Palme d'Or, Mungiu said that Romanian film making had improved.

"We are going back to the simplicity of the story. Before the story was told in a twisted and complicated way. Cinema audiences want the story," he said.

Mungiu also revealed how he did not have tickets for the party at the end of the festival on the French Riviera. He finally showed up at the bash and showed his award. "Is this good enough?" he asked.