31 January 2017 | charmaments
Don't watch this film - no spoilers - Don't say you weren't warned.
This is a "slice of life" film. To give you an example, Fight Club is about the few months in which the main character establishes his first fight club and network of franchises across the country. It's a story that spans quite some time, so some parts are compressed - the highlights are shown, the rest is implied or shown in montages.
Some films focus on a much thinner slice, the peak of the story. This story attempts that. We are not to see the beginning of the relationship, the honeymoon phase, the stagnation and then the affair. We are introduced to the characters already in the middle of the affair period.
The "peak" of this story is the time Paul has to make a decision. Without spoiling the story (not that it could be spoiled), Paul has to chose between these two women, supposedly, according to the synopsis. With deductive reasoning, you can already guess that he is not the one who says "you have to make a choice" - this man is a cheater, his actions already show that he wants both at the same time. So you can guess that this "make a choice" ultimatum was made to him by someone.
But there isn't really much of a choice. We are shown his two lives, a completely normal, uneventful domestic life with his wife and child on one hand and a new relationship on the other, with more passion, since it's the start. In short, one has brushing teeth, shaving and quiet dinners and the other has pillow talk.
This is all from the photos, there are no spoilers here.
Almost everything is in real time, meaning, we're not given the highlights. You know how pillow talk lasts 1 minute in films, whereas in real life it's 15? Don't worry about it, here you get the whole 15. You know how waiting rooms last a long time whereas in films it's seconds? Well, it's all in here. Do you want to see people Christmas shopping? In real time? It's here. It's all long takes.
This film is a short film with little story fattened up with banal scenes that add nothing.
Surely some will see it as some sort of Romanian version of American Beauty, i.e. the middle class dream is not all that great, but this film is seriously overrated. The reviews are all glowing, but it only has 7/10. The number of people giving it 9 and above is almost equal to the number of people giving it 5 and under.
Consider that there is some pre-filtering going on. The average person would not watch a Romanian film to begin with, so the only people voting are people used to more minimalist foreign films. It's still not good though.
The cinema of Romania has experienced many difficult decades, where filmmakers were not allowed to tell the truth about what was happening in their country. This film does not have any of these shackles. Instead, the director showed the real Romania, reality as it is, without a pinch of salt to boost the entertainment value.
Either add a bit of spice to the film to make it more enjoyable or cut it smarter to only show the best parts of this normal life. Even if I were to edit my own boring life, I'd be able to make it interesting by editing out the boring parts.
This film does not only not cut out the boring parts, it is just the boring parts. Those parts are the main focus and that's why it's getting such high praise from people who hate car-chase scenes and roof top fights. I hate car chases too, but I don't want to see a complete, uncut dental appointment from parking to exit.
My friends did not finish this film but I did. They didn't even bother asking what happened later.
Don't say you weren't warned.