Radu Jude's latest film ('Aferim!', 'The Happiest Girl in the World') is a sobering and well realized tale about a young man suffering from spinal tuberculosis in a sanatorium in 30's Romania. Based on the work of Max Blecher the film would be a joyless affair without strong turns by newcomer Lucian Teodor Rus and especially Ivana Mladenovic ( a director in her own right) who potrays Solange. Well worth a watch.
Mubi described this film as melancholy, though the film certainly plays coy I found the film more affected than anything. It adds touches and homages to older films for the sake of having them in the film. The narrative is passable certainly, it is a sound premise and there are no fundamental flaws with the execution. The film still lacks the intangible value that can capture my imagination. Close, but not complete.
I'm still moved and deeply touched by this unexpected brilliant movie. I feel overwhelmed, as only one that experienced illness, physical suffering, absolute loneliness, forlorn hope and despair could be. A story about resilience and love, a fatherly one in the first place, but also a genuine desire toward the other sex. Poetry, in words and images, flows around offering moments of comfort and peace. Inevitable end.
3 1/2. I didn't find it the knockout so many claim it is. It's too long and the central romantic relationship isn't all that compelling or entirely convincing. But the way Jude so carefully orchestrates the frame with human activity is a pleasure to behold. And his staging of these broken and bandaged people fucking manages to be both erotic and heartbreaking, fleshing out the movie's metaphors with full affect.
The production design alone for this movie is magnificent. If it's tedious at times, that's because tedium is one of its subjects-- tedium and absurdity and despair, each moment as unremarkable as the next. The periodic intertitles show the twin banality and beauty of the life of the mind.
The power of this movie messed me up for a while. I found myself acutely aware of details in my ordinary tasks, such as the little noises my motions made as I did laundry & how it might look as I moved through the laundry room. This movie shoves reality in your face even as quotes from the author question existence. If medical procedures/environments and/or frank talk of illness disturb you, it'll get uncomfortable.
A pleasant surprise from Romanian cinema, Scarred Hearts is not another modern drama set in contemprary Romania or handling the on-going troubles of a post-communist country. Set in a sanatorium around the mid 30s, poet Manuel Blecher passes his days reciting, loving, and despairing in a heterotopic and existential crisis captured in Radu Jude's remarkable cinematography and rich settings.
A young man travels to a sanatorium to regain his health. While there his life continues to flow, bringing moments of joy, humor, and sadness, separated by poetic intertitles. The cinematography and acting is first rate, though those with limited patience will probably find the 141 minute running time challenging.
Life in a sanatorium is documented by a young man, our lead, in this enjoyable drama that feels a bit different while covering fairly familiar territory. Direction, script, and acting are all above average. It's just a shame that it overstays its welcome by about half an hour.
Each shot in this film captures the visual poetry of every day life in a sanatorium with the same love of light as an impressionist painter. This echoes protagonist Manu's love of life (finding joy even in advertising slogans) in the face of crippling illness and the Iron Guard. Even as the film's tone and palette get darker, Manu (and the camera) embodies defiance and the artist's ability to see and convey beauty.
An interesting story and rather unique to have the central actor in a horizontal position for the majority of the film. It makes you feel empathy for the plight of these 1930s patients who are being unjustifiably put through pain and misery. This is medicine at its most experimental and unfounded, causing more human misery than healing. The story ends rather oddly, but I applaud the film's refusal to end on a high.
The first half was captivating and had this consistent tone with this tension of things about to come under the surface. I do think it over-ran its course. By the second half, it takes roads that failed to hold my attention and emotion for what the main character was going through. Nevertheless it remains a beautiful film.