Crammed though it is with grime, confusion, and hollering, Aferim! is as precisely crafted as any film in recent memory, starting with Jude’s decision to shoot it on 35mm in widescreen black and white, a format that solidly supports its stylistic blend of overt granularity and stealthy poeticism.
Jude is ably assisted by cowriter Florin Lazarescu in crafting wry, unsentimental dialogue about the meaning of manhood, and by cinematographer Marius Panduru in creating immense landscapes, shot in black-and-white 35-millimeter widescreen, that evoke the classical American western.
3,5 An open air ethnographic museum conducted by a Vlácil-like hand, Aferim! is a feat of documented reconstruction for a space where the Annales School approach of tracing down mentalities would be difficult for the 19th century, let alone for the middle ages, yet!, some continuities are incumbent, proof that vox populi escapes drastic paradigmatic shifts. An ‘impure’ film that walks through quotes (archaic literary
Bigotry, authority, religion, sex, and history in all their absurd glory, like a remake of Andrei Rublev as a deadpan comedy where even the gorgeous CinemaScope photography seems to be in on the joke—at least until it can't be funny anymore. A wonderful look at the self-deception endemic to any era. Winner of Best Director at Berlinale, and an arthouse highlight of whatever year it commercially opens in the States.
FNC '15 For his third picture Jude takes us to 19th century Romania for this film about a lawman on a quest for a runaway slave applying his mix of scathing black comedy peppered with fair allusion to thoughts on class, race and tolerance. Script is aces full of strange anecdotes, sayings and hard to take at times racial diatribes. The b&w cinematography is striking taking advantage of the widescreen format.
"Indie" cinema # 14: the rewarding revisionism. Ideas, principles and images based on a significant revision of the Marxist assumptions that defined Miklós Jancsó heroic historic cinema, according to the usual derisive irruption in Jude films, a kind of a Brechtian corrosion of the fictional movement and its observance. The opposite of "Heimat", for not wanting to do art.
This is what happens when you have a great folk story to tell, a perfectly written script and flawless photography. One of the best films this year. The director saturates the screen with people, animals, scenery and action in a discombobulated array which turns the spectator into a voyeur always on the lookout for the main characters who tend to appear and disappear before your eyes within an orderly chaos. Aferim!