First feature by director Corneliu Porumboiu was a sublime black comedy about convenient memory, self grandeur and comeuppance. A wonderful script by the director that is succinct and exacting. Performances are low key but very effective. An early entry in the re-emergence of Romanian cinema and a calling card for a new auteur.
As my Hockley (better) half pointed out, 'tis a pity they did not translate the title from Romanian verbatim. Nonetheless, enough wry wit and ridiculum here to choke a 'pisica vagabonda'. All of the improvised silence and pregnant pauses used to tremendous effect by the writers, directors, and caustic cast.
Porumboiu found here an extremely deft way to make an impossibly grand statement without getting the least bit heavy about it. Not heavy until the end. This thing is dry-ass funny wisdom until the culminating karate chop to the throats of its three stooges. And us. We are made to choke on our laughter. All laughter, since forever: to laugh from inside the nightmare of history because no nightmare is all nightmare.
This is a positive two stars! An uneven but heartfelt 'comedy' about the political phenomenon of memory. It's split approximately in half; the first I liked a lot, and the second I found frequently interesting. Then, a really really beautiful coda that just left me feeling contemplative. I enjoyed this one! Regret not watching it right near Christmas tho :/ Perhaps next year...
Did the revolution truly bring positive change? Often it appears revolutions do not, and Porumboiu questions this in a drab post-communist environment full of decaying infrastructure and individuals. Even further he asks was there even a revolution? Was there anyone really brave enough to even challenge the old regime? With whimsical dark humor Porumboiu questions even this as the blurriness of history is asserted.
Richly deadpan and droll meditation on the very distinctive Eastern European modus of collective memory and cultural identity. I enjoyed the interactions of the main characters; throughout, the lead actors hit just the right note. NIce editing. A key entry in the Romanian New Wave canon.
A beautiful, brutally ironic film. Despite the revolution, some people still choose to interrogate and persecute others as though sitting on the old tribunals. Loved the beginning, when we see the position of women has not advanced. Graceful, honest remembrance at the end by the older fellow is perfect counterpart to all the inane political posturing that comes before.
There is much to appreciate about Corneliu Porumboiu's direction of this winningly naturalistic farce, from the Tarkovskian follow-shot of a Christmas tree-laden car, to the amateurish camera work which takes over the latter half of the film. The film is a sly takedown of the insular, self-important worldview of life in a small town.