Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Film Review: Aurora (2010) Cristi Puiu

By Olivia Maria Hărşan

On a recent visit to the La Trobe University library I surprisingly came across Cristi Puiu's latest film made, Aurora (2010). Readers, I have been on a rampage of destruction, trying to locate this DVD ever since it became a hit across festivals through Europe. Last year, I completed my Honours thesis in Romanian cinema with each chapter focusing on the following Romanian auteurs: Lucian Pintilie, Mircea Daneliuc, Cristi Puiu and Corneliu Porumboiu. Aurora was one film that I did not manage to incorporate in my examination and wish I had. It is a three hour reinterpretation and perhaps deconstruction of the drama genre. The plot follows the protagonist Viorel (Cristi Puiu) through his daily meanderings; re-claiming an overdue loan from a work colleague, alienating the staff at a clothing boutique, telling his mother's new lover to stay out of his face and murdering people with a rifle. The audience will come to understand that Viorel is going through a divorce, a separation that he does not agree with, hence the violent acts. He spies on his wife and children as they leave in the mornings and practices shooting in his apartment. And his motives are..?  Something for the audience to decide as the past becomes unraveled transcending into a climatic ending of about ten minutes, tops! Aurora is set in slow-cinematic form, which may be difficult for some viewers to maintain attention, but it is worthwhile as you will never see anything like a Cristi Puiu film.

Quite some time ago, my grandmother informed me, after watching her usual programs on Romanian TV via satellite, that Puiu searched and searched but did not find an actor who could fit the role, which is why he decided to play it himself. I confirmed this little piece of trivia with the lovely actress, Clara Vodă, on my trip to Romania this year, who stated that she convinced Puiu to portray Viorel. Clara plays a significant role in Aurora as a sister or friend of the protagonist (it is unclear) and also worked with Puiu in, what I believe to be, his greatest achievement thus far, The Death of Mr Lazarescu (2005).