uch like his films, Cristian Mungiu has an air of quiet intensity. During a visit to the Criterion offices, in anticipation of our release of his Cannes-award-winning dramas Beyond the Hills and Graduation, we got a chance to experience the Romanian New Wave director’s commanding presence, as well as his generosity as a raconteur. A trip to our closet inspired him to share a number of personal stories about his evolution as a cinephile and filmmaker, starting with his childhood encounter with Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times, a movie he has since enjoyed sharing with his family. Growing up in the 1980s, a time when moviegoing options in Romania were scarce, he fell under the spell of Krzystof Kieślowski’s Dekalog, a series that became a cult favorite among his generation of film lovers.Later, his love for Kieślowski’s meditative style would extend to the art-house classics he discovered at his local cinematheque, including the work of such masters as Tarkovsky, Antonioni, and De Sica—the latter of whom has had a lasting influence on his own approach to depicting the struggles of ordinary people. Check out the above video to hear about these and other experiences, including the time Mungiu was contacted out of the blue by Dennis Hopper.