Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Film Review: Sea Salt (2015) Andrei Rautu

By Olivia Maria Hărşan

Andrei Rautu’s short drama Sea Salt is about the silent struggle of a dysfunctional couple. Laura and Robert seem frustrated with one another but have no idea how to voice their problems apart from a couple of passive aggressive attempts – he asks her what she is thinking about and she answers “I’m thinking about us” after which she sighs and stares at the ceiling in a dismal manner. They seem bored with one another, always on their phones ignoring the menace that exists between them. They drive to the beach, perhaps in an attempt to reconnect but when they step out of the car they walk separately, alienated from one another and from themselves as individuals. When she returns to the car to warm up, she begins to squirm in her seat anxiously while tears begin to flow. Back by the dreary sea, Robert stares down at the waves crashing against the rocks. The water is stubborn just like their relationship, but, like the waves breaking on the shore, they must break the silence between them, and they do.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Film Review: The Dinner/ Darka (2014) Suela Bako

By Olivia Maria Hărşan

Suela Bako’s The Dinner is a hyperreal gem. At the core of the narrative is the eldest sibling, Diana’s grief through the loss of her mother and the confusion she feels when her father proposes to marry his new girlfriend, Entela. The action takes place at a casual dinner party involving her father, a work colleague and his wife along with Diana’s soon to be stepmother. The hand held camera follows the awkward silence, which converts to a Roy Andersson type of absurdism as one of the female guests bursts into a fit of laughter. Diana resembles a deity as she sits at the table, brilliantly lit as if belonging to another world. She possesses the strength of the mythological goddess, she is nurturing with her young sister and resilient towards any challenges she must face in life. The Dinner is about accepting the pain of grief, understanding how to manage it and allowing the love of others to prevail over the darkness.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Film Review: Iulian: A True Story (2014) Alex Mironescu

By Olivia Maria Hărşan

Alex Mironescu’s docu-drama Iulian: A True Story is a true story about humanity. Iulian walks the streets as a modern shepherd, abandoned dogs follow him acting as sheep dogs while the almost-mystical fog engulfs the image. He treads through the grey landscape as if to mimic one of Béla Tarr’s anomic male personas - completely alienated from the ‘real’ world, from society. Iulian grew up in an orphanage, a product of dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu’s absurd banning of contraceptives in communist Romania. He eats his meals in the homes of a couple of generous residents and sleeps in a tent which he assembles every evening in a nearby vacant lot that is riddled with pollution. Iulian seems oddly content with his life, perhaps because it is simple and absent of the stress common individuals suffer.