Emilian lives a seemingly good life, with a wife, a nice job and money to spare. Yet he is deeply disharmonious and on the verge of exploding. One stressful day, as he is preparing to go on a holiday trip with his son, everything comes to a head. With Principles of Life, Constantin Popescu (Tales from the Golden Age) has crafted a very interesting portrait of a Romania in the borderland between old and new–congenially represented in the person of Emilian: a man who has benefited from the system and elbowed his way to a prosperous life, but who also lingers in an outdated gender role, creating a void between himself and his son. A confrontation between them–between generations–is inevitable in this intense drama. –Göteborg
Constantin Popescu wrote and directed his first short film, The Apartment, in 2004. It was selected in 15+ festivals and won several awards, including the “Gran Premio della Giuria” at Venice International Short Film Festival Circuito Off. Since then his following short films – A Lineman’s Cabin (2006), Water (2007), The Yellow Smiley Face (2008) – have participated and won at film festivals worldwide. In 2009, he directed the segment Omnibus for Christian Mungiu’s Tales from the Golden Age.
Portrait of the Fighter As A Young Man is his first feature film, which was selected as part of the Official Selection at the Berlinale Forum 2010. —Festival Scope
I saw some bad acting in there, some characters that weren't credible and an entire script that was a bit too shallow. However, I salute the post-communism background in which the action takes place.
to me,this is a film about social roles. not about individualities,about 'retrograde' spirituality,but about zigzagging through people,accomplishing the romanian ideal of the man who can do well in any situation,while staying at the surface of the things, in full control, unflinching, know-it-all jukebox.incertitudes are 4 losers, 'rock' is dee music, obesity is sexy and grapefruit juice compulsory.dubiously pedantic
the notion of parental responsibility towards children sips in shyly through the fortress of imposing masculinity that emilian is trying to establish in others' representations about him. the next thing to learn is chewing with his mouth shut, but that, comrades, will take another film to show.
very accurate portrait of the nouveau-riche-sort-of-capitalist-but-mostly-just-post-communist romanian man and the state of "affairs". or should i call it the status quo?! paraphrasing groucho marx for an attampted sum up: "if you don't like my principles, that's ok, i have other ways: i.e. a good beating".