New 35mm Print!

Ciulei’s impressive debut feature—produced in connection with the 100th anniversary of the Romanian oil industry—unfolds in a nearly deserted oil town where a few remaining prospectors linger, hoping against hope for the titular rush of black gold. Into this bleak setting arrives an ambitious young student from the big city, who finds herself drawn to the charismatic engineer Barbu. But it is not long before her presence in this lonely place stirs dormant passions in the hearts of the other men as well. Filmed in striking black-and-white by cinematographer Grigore Ionescu (who would go on to shoot Ciulei’s The Danube Waves), Eruption is the sort of hard-edged romantic drama Nicholas Ray might have made, and a fascinating counterpoint to Hollywood’s contemporaneous James Dean-Elizabeth Taylor epic, Giant.