Brilliant as it is, the New Romanian Cinema often lacks an emotional compass - its universe is a fairly unforgiving one. A Mere Breath is an affecting exception, even here too there is a lot of toughness. The portrayal of a devout Christian family could have lurched into lazy stereotype but we see here pragmatic, loving believers. A quietly heartening film about good people.
The camera follows for few years a couple, parents of three, struggling for their kids – in different, difficult ages each – especially for the one who is born sick. The main theme is the blind, naif faith and self-serving religion. They desperately want to believe in miracles, hesitant to entrust science and medicine; in the end, they'll be eventually persuaded, but [predictable spoiler] nothing's going to change.
(3.5 stars) What starts off as a documentary that is pretty dry and pretty religion-oriented slowly turns into a fascinating coming of age story. An overly religious and domineering father who loses his job at the beginning, a daughter suffering from spina bifada, a wife trying to cope with both, and a teenage son slowly drifting away from everyone. It's amazing what can happen in 7 years.