I certainly haven't seen enough recent Romanian films to pass judgment or even commentary on the so-called New Wave there, but by the time we get to Radu Muntean's Boogie we've reached a finale of sorts. The film is what it is: a realist portrait of a day and evening in the life of a married couple (Anamaria Marinca and Dragos Bucur) in mostly unobtrusive long takes. The relationship is regular, the small spats are regular, the conversations are regular, and the plot—after a fight in the evening, which starts with the husband spending time with old school friends while the wife looks after their son, the husband goes out in a huff—is, indeed, quite regular. The performances are naturalistic, the style resolutely unfussy; the film simply wants to give a picture, in as seemingly unmediated way as possible, of everyday relationships.
Surprisingly, like most latter-day realism, it has the same intention as those most artificial of Hollywood films: to make the spectator unaware they are watching a movie. While the beachside opening, which carries with it a strange sense of menace as director Muntean deftly uses vague threats of off-screen open space and the lurking danger of a water line curving in the background. This aura of the beach setting seems like happenstance and the unfounded unease all the more vivid, but forever after we stay in the realm of the expected which misses this openness, this sense of unknown possibility.
But so what? In the cinema, the quotidian is never just quotidian, but the regular is just that. And so Boogie proceeds, and once we've guessed its rhythm and intonation, gives no discerning reason why any five minutes of it is any more or less interesting than any other five minutes. So congratulations, by effacing the sense of filmmaking and entering the every-day, here's a movie that is indeed everyday. Nothing risked, nothing gained; Boogie is precise and fine for what it is, but it attempts little more than what has always been attempted in the cinema, that we forget we are watching a drama.