November 7, 2016No Comments

Câini, Bogdan Mirică, 2016

Opening shot resembles Lisandro Alonso’s opening shot from Los Muertos, slow traveling shot through nature to reveal some form of death. Nice. 

Shot at the beginning - in through open door towards outside - nice homage to The Searchers.

A mystery thriller that doesn’t deliver on the genre conventions and is more of an exploration on the difference between people and how the environment shapes behaviour and response. Feels frustrating precisely because it doesn’t respect genre while it uses it to propel action forward. 

Script has holes. Pushes the plausibility range of many beats: 

The old cop performs the weirdest and soon silliest criminalistic investigation on a human foot, wearing cleaning rubber gloves; 

He twists the hand of a low rank gangster to accept a mobile phone (no mobile phones allowed in the gang) which is scripted just to buzz at the wrong moment and give the gangster in. 

The main character lacks basic wits to drive his GF to the bus station because “it’s in the other direction”, a move that kills them both.

(Boy, am I envious over Mr. Mirică, or what? Good job, dude, anyway.)

November 1, 2016No Comments

Sieranevada, Cristi Puiu, 2016

FAMILY is the greatest and richest source of conflict in the story world. Conflicting people, set against each other all while being emotionally tied by the subterranean links between them - here’s the place to see the “heart in conflict with itself” at its fullest.

Two great examples come to mind of the “family genre” - T. Vinterberg’s “Festen” and Arnaud Desplechin’s “Un conte de Noël”. Powerful shit. 

With these two examples in mind, Cristi Puiu’s film feels as if it could have pushed for conflict and antagonise its characters two times fold while still being under the cover of realism, as Romanian families fight great fights between closed doors.

In its simplicity, the camera work and the limited space it creates and manages is very, very strong. 

The Romanian film to offer as a gift to non-RO friends. There you go, buddy, 3 hours of East European frenzy. Why is it called like that? Literally, just because. 


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