This film brought to life one classic in Romanian literature - actually, only the first volume. It's a story centered around a an uneducated, poor, 'simple' man - Moromete, a dreamer at heart, a great pretender - pretending his problems away until they blow out of proportions and burst out.
Giulea must've chosen to keep it black &white and it helped create authenticity, and depth: the poverty, the tension, and emotionally bleak atmosphere of the Moromete family really gets to you.
It could be my attention spam shifting for the second hour, but I saw how the composition and the planning of the scenes disintegrate along with the story plot. The first half has an inner consistency, an inner beauty - the carefully prepared composition, the candle light faces or the contre-jour, slightly overexposed and soft look are very impressive. It looks beautiful while it feels gloomy, and that makes you an accomplice. And the camera always looks up to Moromete he feels like a giant in his made-up world, he looks like one to us. Then it all falls apart and the focus moves from form to content.
The silent beauty before the storm. Weelll, at least it shows it could've been beautiful, despite lack of money or illness.
If you don't know the story... his idealism keeps him from emotionally connecting to his family he takes care of 'business', he cares for them financially, but fails to recognize them as human beings. They're as real to him as the politicians he comments on and make no mistake! This is a very smart man. Many fathers make the same mistake, with predictably the same results.
Interestingly enough, as if giving Moromete a chance to redeem himself as a parent, his youngest son resembles him a dreamer and a thinker, begging for a chance to embrace his true nature. Again, Moromete fails to see what's important, what is already lost and what can still be saved. The dreamer in me hopes that the second part of the book restores hope for the first ends in failure.
As far as I can tell (never having read the book) the mistake this man makes is not choosing his own destiny, pretending to be something he's not. He projects his own flaws onto others, oblivious to the intrinsic imperfection of human nature and reality he demands perfection. He basically refuses to face life while pretending to know everything about it, except his own refusal. And, the worst of all (in my eyes), he doesn't know when to stop the charade and acknowledge his loses. A blind mule.
While that may be a fine way to live your own life, it's a heavy burden for children left without the care, love, attention or guidance of a parent, but with the blame of needing them. That's his "crime", and he never accepts to suffer for it. His own pain had he accepted it and expressed it could've set him free.
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