September 2, 2017
(Dir. Cristi Puiu. 2016)
Los Angeles premiere!
Voted the best undistributed film of 2016 by Film Comment!
251 S Main St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Writer-director Puiu’s fifth feature plays tricks with the viewer from its elusive start—an elaborate, extended street scene involving two testy parents and their young daughter—to a finale three hours later that brings this remarkably staged masterpiece to an unexpected end. In between is one of the most sustained extended sequences in movie history: A family memorial service/gathering for a doctor patriarch. Inside a Bucharest apartment, a whole macrocosm of Romanian society seems to be on display, with comedy, bitterness, paranoia, love and barely concealed anger bouncing around the rooms. Cinematographer Barbu Balasoiu’s roaming camera becomes like a member of the family, capable of quirks and upsets and irony. As always, Puiu’s actors are superhuman, yet appear to be hardly acting at all.
A great [work] by a master filmmaker.
- Mark Peranson, Cinema Scope
A stylistic tour de force presented with an almost anthropological avidity for details, as well as drolly understated wit.
- Godfrey Cheshire, RogerEbert.com
Puiu, the standard bearer of perhaps the most important film movement of the last decade, the Romanian New Wave, again proves himself an acute social portraitist, the Balzac of contemporary cinema.
- James Quandt, The National Post
Puiu spins a comic, tense, and often poignant chamber film—where the chambers host hours of prickly conversation and contain multiple generations of hard-won experience stretching back to the Communist era.
- Nicolas Rapold, Film Comment
Brilliantly staged, it’s a film of partial glimpses and slyly obscured information: Rituals are anticipated and delayed, doors open and close, and the camera hovers at thresholds and in corridors, panning quizzically left and right. As the claustrophobia intensifies, the heated back-and-forths—from reminiscences of the old Communist days to theories about the present age of terror—coalesce into a pointillist portrait of personal and social malaise.
- Dennis Lim, Artforum
(Available to download after screening date)