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Cannes 2010. Radu Muntean's "Tuesday, After Christmas"

Cannes 2010

"Tuesday, After Christmas opens with a lengthy, static shot of a man and woman lying naked in bed, spent and happy, utterly comfortable in each other's presence," writes Mike D'Angelo at the AV Club. "Needless to say, they aren't married. To each other, that is... The dramatic beats that follow are straight out of the Affairs Destroy Everybody handbook — guilt, jealousy, recriminations, the Big Confession, etc — but [Radu] Muntean, letting his camera gaze and gaze (there can't be more than 20 or 25 shots in the entire film), gives his superb cast the freedom to locate numerous moments of painful awkwardness and razor-sharp intimacy, which make this overly familiar narrative feel somewhat less banal."

"Muntean's movie is a remarkable, pitch-perfect work, as convincing and affecting a portrayal of the subtleties of modern life and marriage as you'll find on the screen," blogs Steven Zeitchik for the Los Angeles Times. "[I]f cinematic genius is taking a story we think we've seen before and telling it an entirely fresh way, Muntean is ready for Mensa."

"Radu Muntean's kind of realism requires being, actors inhabiting characters to an entirely unself-conscious degree, intended so that you forget you are watching actors, even watching a drama." Daniel Kasman, here in The Daily Notebook: "[Mimi] Branescu is remarkably able to tell micro-stories within each take (usually meaning each scene) of his embarrassment, self-reflection, confidence, and stress through minute naturalistic and introverted facial expressions."

Guy Lodge at In Contention: "Muntean and his ensemble are to be commended for offering a more considered, less shrill take on the tenuousness of contemporary marriage, but he may have ended up skirting the drama along with the histrionics; we may have known many people to endure similarly civilized personal crises, but we wouldn't necessarily make movies about them either."

"Not that the story need be overwrought, but between this and the histrionics Muntean clearly wants to avoid there exists worlds of emotional possibilities," writes Natasha Senjanovic in the Hollywood Reporter. "Especially since an hour passes before the denouement arrives. By then — even if the film's subdued tone is meant to reflect passionless, middle-class routine — Tuesday sags from too many inconsequential scenes and rambling conversations."

"It's a modest but beautifully calibrated film, and a good showcase of the strengths of current Romanian cinema," argues Matt Noller at the House Next Door. "Tuesday, After Christmas may be too familiar to be much more than very good, but if Muntean can find something a bit more creative on which to turn his gaze, 'very good' won't even begin to cover it."

Update, 5/15: "While the decision the cheating man has to make by the film's end is morally very interesting, especially in comparison with Rohmer's take on similar situation in his Moral Tales, one feels Muntean could get the same slowly evolving and devolving interest and insight levels from just about any given human interaction," writes Daniel Kasman in an additional entry here in The Daily Notebook. "I suppose that's a compliment, but it also reinforces the ultimately interchangeable/programmatic nature of this fine film."

 

 

"[T]o a great degree, Tuesday, After Christmas is a tribute to Muntean's actors," writes Robert Koehler at filmjourney.org, "particularly Mimi Branescu as the husband Paul, Mirela Oprisor as Paul's ultimately aggrieved and enraged wife Adriana and Maria Popistasu as Paul's lover Raluca, whose opening scene with Branescu is one of the most natural and unaffectedly erotic postcoital scenes between a couple in recent film. But Tuesday fools the audience with such a scene; it is about the emotional needs of each side in a relationship, the geometry of betrayals and the shocking suddenness when a married life comes to a grinding halt...."

Update, 5/21: Screen's Dan Fainaru finds Tuesday to be "ultimately a precise, well-fashioned but underwhelming exercise."

Update, 5/23: "As Adriana slowly understands her husband's infidelity, a myriad of emotions — disbelief, anger, despair — registers in Oprisor's eloquent, touching, bold performance," writes Mary Corliss for Time. "It was one of the Festival's great moments this year, in a film that takes a clichéd situation and elevates it to a universal human hurt."

Page at Cannes. Un Certain Regard.

Cannes 2010: Coverage of the coverage index.

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