Heavy. The challenge of a social issue movie is to prove it's not just a gut-punch. This one succeeds—it neither holds back nor condescendingly flogs you into admiration. Its formal approach and choice of perspective elevate agitprop to passionate yet cagey examination. What lasts is the tension, the empathetic pairing of resilience and vulnerability, and the view of a society where women can trust only each other.
There's a lot of themes thrown into this film and you can have a serious amount of discussions about the atmosphere of communism in Romania during the time period, the distance your willing to go to value a friendship, the right to an abortion and feminism to the abuse that the woman had to suffer. But as a film it's excellent, it just flows with surprisingly intense moments when you realize what is at stake.
Sans hésitation le pire film que j'ai jamais vu. Sans espoir, se complaît dans le glauque et le voyeurisme crasse dans un but très flou (pour choquer ? dénoncer ? documenter ? je ne saisis pas), les deux protagonistes sont molles et antipathiques à souhait, à la limite de l'insoutenable.
Grim, dirty and disconcerting, this is a very natural and seemingly accurate portrait of 1987 Romania. It is guaranteed to make you feel a bit disgusted and annoyed. Some interesting shots, which omit elements and then inventively bring them into the action.
Revisited after years; this may have been the first Romanian film I ever experienced. Having since slowly trudged through generations of RO cinema (perpetually, knees and elbows), this almost feels as if it were made to win gold a la Dardenne-Cannes shimmer sprinkle; polished poster child. Witness this film still, an aesthetic cinematic clinic. Meanwhile, Puiu's debut 6 years earlier is tangible for the tigers. 7/10
What's most surprising is Mungiu's use of thriller tropes to lift what is ostensibly a serious, harrowing drama into a masterfully nailbiting ride - the slow reveal of the villain of the piece is breathtaking, and there's even a wry twist on Chekhov's Gun. The cast is astonishing too - one can only wonder at what Mungiu's direction was during that long, excruciating dinner party scene.
Gripping Romanian New Wave film with affecting performances and set design. A subtext of profound social implication is subtly conveyed through French/Italian social realist innovations including deep focus, mobile hand camera operation, and on location sound. A film of striking verisimilitude in exposing a controversial black market practice. 89/100 - Excellent. (4.5)