Double Burdens: Exposures & Expressions

The Mona Lisa Without a Smile

Gioconda fara surîs

1968 — 92' / Black & White



After being persecuted politically, imprisoned, and banned from working in the film industry for a decade, Malvina Urșianu wrote and directed The Mona Lisa without a Smile, her first feature, in 1968. While on a work assignment reporting on a scientist, the charming Caius encounters a former classmate named Cosma. The pair attend a press junket and discover the subject is their former school crush Irina who has retained her strong character and independence. Reunited at last, the old gang romantically stroll down memory lane where old scores will be settled. Seen nowadays as a subtle critique of the Ceausescu's regime, Urșianu was one of the few women directors active during this period and her work is considered a cornerstone of Romanian modernist cinema. -
Dorota Lech

Director Biography

The director and screenwriter Malvina Urşianu was born on June 19, 1927, in the commune of Guşoieni, Vălcea County, in a family of boyars. She studied Art History at the Institute of Museography, Paleography and Library Science at the State Archives and attended the experimental film course taught by director, screenwriter and actor Jean Georgescu.

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Malvina Ursianu


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