Thursday, February 18, 2016

Film Review: Der Kübelreiter (2015) Stefan Malešević

By Olivia Maria Hărşan

Mentored by none other than Béla Tarr, Film Factory student Stefan Malešević delivers a black and white short in the tradition of the renowned Hungarian filmmaker. We have a lonely man, a simple and cold dwelling with a coal heater, apocalyptic weather dominated by a blizzard and a strange interaction between two individuals. However, unlike Tarr’s films, there is something subhuman about the characters in Der Kübelreiter. Malešević’s references to Kafka are uniquely expressed through the amalgamation between human and animals – the characters croak like frogs when they communicate – but we also notice sensitivity within these creatures. Malešević presents us with a postmodern meditation of life, stripped to its bare necessities whereupon simple man becomes problematic.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Film Review: Gimi is Not in the Film (2015) Sandra Rad

By Olivia Maria Hărşan

Sandra Rad’s satiric short Gimi is not in the Film is both humorous and dark detailing a young woman’s distress as she marches down a highway with a suitcase, which we soon learn contains a dead pet named Gimi. The protagonist calls the owner, perhaps a sister or a friend, pleading for her to understand that she is not as fault for its death and will prove it by taking Gimi to a vet and finding out the cause of its death. She continues on her quest down the road as cars overtake her almost blowing her summer dress away. Suddenly two men approach her creating a threatening atmosphere – the viewer becomes nervous of an impending assault as they stare the woman down head to toe. They assist her with her suitcase and inquire about its contents. Embarrassed about the situation, she answers “some computer parts” at which point the men glance at each other at the opportunity and run away with the suitcase.  In the tradition of New Romanian Cinema, Rad focuses on a current issue faced in Romania, that is, the existence of petty crime. She makes a commentary on the idea that the behaviors of the communist past, where individuals needed to steal, exchange foodstuffs and buy black market in order to survive still exist in the present. And it will take a very long time for such things to repair.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Film Review: Libelula (2015) Mihai Salajan

By Olivia Maria Hărşan

There is a relentless energy in Mihai Salajan’s Libelula that interchanges between moments of light and darkness. Focusing on documenting the underlying concepts of existence and being, the film reveals to us a compilation of stills and motion images that call for a metaphysical exploration of life. Accompanied by a haunting soundtrack, Salajan’s portaits of mundanity – an old man arguing with a tradesman, a cat grazing in the grass, a woman enjoying a meal in a Chinese restaurant – these commonplace activities become sinister and nauseating. Libelula accurately documents daily life in the “cement boxes”— apartments that act as visual reminders of the communist past. The narrator merely re-captures these flashes of existence, what is now, juxtaposing them with artifacts of a bygone era, what was… then.