Saturday, April 04, 2009


Radu Muntean latest film is not exactly what I was hoping for as feels and looks different to his great Hîrtia va fi albastrã (The Paper Will Be Blue) perhaps because the story is an exploration of a theme that not only is universal but also has been explored in many ways in many films.

The movie tells about the proverbial boys (finally) becoming men by showing the “last” visit to the fun times of bachelor life and their “resignation” to start accepting the responsibilities of adulthood and married life. Boogie is a young married man that's spending May 1st holiday with his pregnant wife and young son at the beach. They are a normal happy family. But suddenly he meets two old mates -that hasn’t seen for three years- and he simply forgets about his wife and child to succumb into a night of drinking, smoking and whoring. The story and movie happens in less than 24 hours.

All right, I understand that there is more to the story as in a way shows different paths that young Romanians have taken, as Boogie is successful while his buddies are losers; with one living in Sweden (he’s vacationing back in Romania) doing menial jobs to survive and contemplating marrying an old Swedish woman, and the other “tired” of his boring work at a travel agency and asking Boogie for a job at his furniture factory. But even if I get that part of the story, the story simply didn’t interest me.

Still, I watched the entire movie because Muntean artistry caught my eye with many long takes, handheld camera takes, shots in real time and I definitively like Anamaria Marinca performances even when she does roles where you can clearly tell she is overqualified for such a secondary role.

Yes the movie has all the tech specs and unique style of the so-called New Romanian Cinema Wave, so if you enjoy this style you will probably like the movie; but the story, at least for non-Romanian audiences, is one that either you will love or you will hate as I believe there is no middle grown. I also believe that this is a dialogue-based movie that definitively looses much in translation, which also doesn’t help the enjoyment by those that do not understand Romanian.

Anyway the movie has been honored in many fests and awards since was premiered at the 2008 Cannes fest in the 40th Quinzaine des Realisaterus, including Anamaria Marinca winning Best Actress and Dragoş Bucur (Boogie) winning Best Actor at the 2009 Gopo Awards.

Somehow I imagine that this movie is best suited for male audiences, as according to comments I read, some men identify with the situations shown in the movie and consequently tend to like the story. But the movie definitively is not for general audiences because the art cinema style.


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