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Monday, May 19, 2008

Hîrtia va fi Albastrã (The Paper Will Be Blue)


By now most of you know that I do like to discover recent new Romanian cinema films and my last discovery is this Radu Muntean film set on the evening of Nicolae Ceauşescu's fall that tells about a night patrol of a militia unit that with a malfunctioning radio is patrolling a Bucharest suburb, but young recruit Costi wants them to defend the TV station and when the lieutenant does not agree, he leaves the unit to go by himself. From that moment on you get a glimpse at what probably happened during that night from a different point of view, the view of the armed forces.

Basically is a tale about how communications rule today’s armed conflicts (against taking physical spaces) and when you fail to communicate only chaos, confusion, uncertainty and dead comes. As a matter of fact I was all confused and had no idea of who was fighting against whom and I truly believe that was done totally on purpose to allow you viewer to live the moment.

Besides the beginning (that actually is the end) there is no violence in this movie, as the story is told almost like in real time and with on-purpose banalities to let you know about and care for the main characters. Then the cinematography is dark, grainy with umbral quality that only contributes to the confusion –does not even allow you to clearly identifying the characters in the beginning- and gives at times the feeling of a documentary. But as the story moves on, the cinematography changes to facilitate the more clearly identification of everyone and everything.

Have to admit that this is one of the rare occasions I had to really enjoy a movie with “the other side” vision and because the way Muntean decided to tell the story and how he film it, this extraordinary opportunity became a cinematic pleasure. BRAVO! The movie truly is a sedative hypnotic tale that will keep your eyes glue to the screen, so be aware that the pace is slow and there is not much really happening in the screen… but you get to feel everything that’s happening in that night until the early morning.

It is truly amazing what Muntean was able to do with this movie that can make you smile, laugh and even cry, but most of all it will make you feel confused and uncertain, probably as confused and uncertain as most people who lived that night were. BIG CHAPEAU!!!

The movie has some wins in film festivals and some nominations including being in competition at the 2006 Locarno fest for the Golden Leopard.

I tend to think that this movie could be for all audiences, but I know that not all audiences are opened to see armed forces movies were there is no “action”; so I believe that the movie is suited for those that like arty movies. Perhaps this movie is the easiest to watch from those magnificent movies that belong to the new Romanian cinema wave and if you haven’t tried any of the ones I have seen before, perhaps this is the one to start.

I’m sharing with you that my Romanian has improved beyond what I could ever imagine and by know I understand a lot better the language and consequently the story, at least more than with the many times bad subtitles, this obviously adds to viewing pleasure.

I highly recommend this movie to all that -like me- are in the quest to find movies that belong to the new Romanian cinema.

Big Enjoy!!!

P.S. I just want to record here that there is another movie by Muntean called Furia, 2002.

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