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  • dromasca14 October 2006
    I do not expect this film to be well understood by viewers out of Romania. This tells something certainly about the value, or maybe about the lack of universality of the film, but also tells something about how different history and even life of common people was in Romania compared to other countries, even in Eastern Europe.

    The film is an adaptation of a novel by Marin Preda, a controversial novelist who died during the Communist rule soon after the book was published. It tells the story of an intellectual, professor of philosophy whose life is crushed after he is imprisoned on false accusations at the end of the Stalinist era. Basically the first part of the film tells the story of his fight for survival in prison, the second describes his tentative to regain his life after being released. His release is actually only apparent, Romania of the 60s asks from him different types of compromises and crimes, but yet his fight for survival is as tough morally as in prison.

    The film is splendidly acted by some of the best Romanian actors. Stefan Iordache who has the lead role would be in another time and another place a mega-star, we can get here a good glimpse of his fabulous acting art. Although suffering from a hesitant story-telling and falling sometimes in non-essential details or character comics, the film is still an important landmark for the Romanian cinema, as well as for the process of recovering the moral and historic values in the Romanian society.
  • Arguably, the best Romanian movie to date. Benefiting from a powerful screenplay, based on a novel by Marin Preda, a cast composed of the best Romanian actors, excellent directing, the movie is a monument in film for the suffering of Romanian intellectuals in the hands of the communists. Never in the history of mankind, a doctrine created so much suffering for so long, for so many, and this movie is one of the few out there testifying to it. One day, the rest of the world will discover this gem and give it the proper recognition. But then again, that day may never come.
  • The title of the movie is somehow paradoxical, since nothing that happens in the movie doesn't come to sustain the idea that might arise from the blunt reception of the title. The main issue that the movie tries to tackle is the issue of the scars that communism leaves on the lives of the ones enduring it, and mostly upon the lives of the learned. The movie comes to cast a diminishing and shameful image upon the level at which the communism used to function in Romania's years under the communist dictature. The level of ignorance that the communism had reached is revealed through the plot of the movie: a man's whole life is ruined for absolutely no reason what so ever. The movie is a masterpiece, as it brings to light the wheakness of the learned man in front of the brute force.
  • shak_spawn19 August 2006
    The movie follows the events of the novel "Cel mai iubit dintre pamanteni"( could be translated as "The most beloved among humans" ), written by Marin Preda ( a very controversial book and movie), a novel which became something like The Bible or the story of Hamlet, very popular and hard to get, due to its satiric contents over the Communist regime. It represents the drama of the intellectual man, the humanist, in a "red" world. A movie filled with passion, fear, sexuality, all the great ingredients for a great movie recipe.One of the greatest Romanian movies,despite its psychological charge(after all, it is an European movie).
  • a great novel, brick of subtle resistance in Comunist period. a honest adaptation. and impressive Ștefan Iordache performance. for me, remember of high school last year when, in summer, I reading Marin Preda novel imagining its adaptation. my screenplay was different. but the work of Șerban Marinescu is gorgeous. for the accuracy of atmosphere recreation. for the science of details. for the occasion for Ștefan Bănică to make a fabulous role. his last role in a movie. for nuances of evil makes in front by Dorel Vișan or Mircea Albulescu. for image of profaned innocence of Marius Stănescu character. for measure of feelings in Colea Răutu performance. for Matilda by Maia Morgenstern ( in my vision, Matilda must be Tora Vasilescu ). for the music, image and autopsy of an absurd regime.
  • This film adaptation is pure squalidness, a shameful alteration of the book. If he could watch this movie - Marin Preda one of the most successful romanian writers - will be enough to make him turn into his grave and die again. This film adaptation is the worst adaptation in the history of romanian cinema. The book itself is butchered by one untalented director, Șerban Marinescu and one mediocre actor, Mircea Albulescu who came up with the idea of inventing a film character and therewith a horrid scene (prison-rape-homosexual-scene, Albulescu and Iordache). For god's sake, why? Why must be a great book slaughtered in such manner by two uninspired men? Is this some kind of history retribution for the years that we have lived in the dark ages of communism? May be, but Marin Preda doesn't deserve that, that's for sure.
  • A great novel by one of Romania's greatest writers was adapted (read: inevitably simplified) after the fall of Communism to make a film about how tyranny destroys people and ideas. The critique of early Communism published in that novel during late Communism was a sensation back then in Romania, and who knows if Preda wasn't actually aiming at the regime as a whole.

    The all-star cast carries the film, headed by the formidable Stefan Iordache (one of the greatest actors ever), although the script has some plot holes or poorly explained transitions, and some characters are less complex than in the book. But the issue with adaptations is that a novel could never be transferred on screen and still keep its level and amount of insightful exploration, so we don't have to compare adapted movies to their literary origins.

    The film is heavy and dark due to its tragic and awful subject, and also to its cinematic tone. Still, the most horrid aspect of that story is the almost general filth of selfish compromise which, despite appearances of social success sometimes, has actually destroyed the souls of so many around the main character. Thus, in this respect, he may really be the most beloved man on earth (as in the film's ironic title), because he at least tried to remain true to himself. 'If there were no love, there would be nothing'... This famous quote about love adapted from St. Paul was another slap in the face of an atheist, absurd, egotistic and cruel regime.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I watched the film recently and it poorly resembles the book is based on. I blame this on poor screenplay and direction. Some parts were forcibly introduced (the gay rape scene) for no apparent reason. I actually read the book after watching the movie and some 20 years or so after reading it for the first time. I found it hard to read and somewhat clumsy. Too many disparate ideas introduced for no benefit at all... other than sensational parts for the time. As it covers stuff that was deemed 'sensitive', to say the least, during communism, I can see the fascination it produced at the time. That isn't the case anymore though or maybe I see things differently now or a bit of both. The film tries too much to cover many aspects from the book, the result being a concoction of scenes that may make some sense to someone who read the book. Even so this is a film that is difficult to watch and maybe should have never been made.
  • great expectations . and a modest result. not surprising. because the film is only large collection of words, images, brutality and clichés. Ștefan Iordache is the perfect Petrini but the viewer discovers it only as reader of the novel. Ștefan Bănică does the role of his career but that is one of rare good points of film. it is a travel without direction. Șerban Marinescu explores the skin of Marin Preda text but nothing more and that transforms the film in a package without content. only exercises to save the appearances. cold, dark, menacing, the film has a bitter message. but not purpose. and, unfortunately, it becomes one of many films after 1990 who presents only large slices of fury, frustrations, tries to kill the memories about recent past in a teenage style. nothing wrong. only sad when the film declares to be inspired by one of the most significant novel of XX century Romanian literature.
  • raduis227 April 2014
    I thought the book by Marin Preda has a lot more substance compared to the movie: Preda explored a lot more the human side of Petrini, there was a lot more introspection and reflection upon the absurdity of the Stalinist times. In fact, most of the characters are more vivid in the book, while in the movie they are dull, dehumanized, ugly, just for the sake of being ugly. Sure, the point of the story is to highlight the tragic nature of the Stalinist repression, but Preda did it with panache and made sure it had all the philosophical underscores worth of a main character ... that was supposed to be a philosopher. The movie is empty of all that, it tries too hard to be provocative and it gets repetitive and tiring after a while. Bleak and dehumanizing.

    After reading the book, I felt anger at the immense historic injustice that was allowed to happen (to so many people in the East). A motivating kind of anger. But I only depressed and disappointed at the end of the movie.

    The screenplay is mediocre at best. Iordache's performance is linear, unexciting, boring. The scream in his last scene is plain embarrassing. How did that even make the cut? Morgenstern's character is completely off (not on account of Morgenstern's performance though, it's probably a directorial decision): Preda's Matilda was mysterious, attractive, purposeful; the one in the movie plays a marginal role and is plain repugnant. Even the usually masterful Rebengiuc's performance was just OK.

    Dorel Visan was quite good as the infamous prison guard Dumnezeu.

    The one performance I thought was spot on was Gheorghe Dinica's, with superb delivery of his lines, a spark in his eye, and a DeNiro-esque grin worth all the money. His character was probably the only believable one.

    Waiting for a remake of this movie. The book deserves a decent adaptation.