Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Film Review: Outbound/Periferic (2010) Bogdan George Apetri

By Olivia Maria Hărşan

I finally sat down and watched the Romanian film Periferic. At the time of its release, I'd heard only good things about it, particularly Ana Ularu's exceptional role as Matilda, a rough-edged mother with a broken heart. The film begins with her release from prison, where it is understood she was serving time for a crime she did not commit. Matilda is on parole but her plan is to find her long lost son, Toma (Timotei Duma) and flee the country. She locates an ex-lover, Paul (Mimi Branescu), who is also Toma's biological father, but finds that he has placed him in an orphanage. Money matters between Matilda and Paul end in a violent way - Paul is some kind of mafioso middle man. Matilda manages to scramble away with Paul's money, or rather what he owed her for doing time. Needless to say, she finds her son but the ending is a sad one. 

What stood out for me the most in this film is the emphasis on heat. You know how some people discuss the concentration of summertime heat in New York as if its some kind of phenomenon?... Think Spike Lee's Crooklyn (1994)... Well the same goes for Bucharest - 45 degrees of asphalted metropolis. It seemed as though the heat was concocting a maddening vibe that conjoined all the characters into some kind of abysmal warp. There was no ending to this story, only a perpetual circle of tragic events. 

There were also some impressive cinematographic moments. The sun shining directly into the camera as we are introduced to Matilda's brother Andrei (Andi Vasluianu) and the tracking shot of Andrei's taxi, filmed from behind the vehicle as it swerves into a petrol station, thus indicating a sense of awkwardness that is about to unfold between Matilda and her sister-in-law, Lavinia (Ioana Flora). But there is also the eerie shot of Toma's shadow as a passenger looking outwards onto the surrounding fields. It captures a sense of ghostliness that begs the question, was he even real? 

No comments: