This is “the big one” of the Romanian New Wave. Winner of the Palme d’Or, it was director Cristian Mungiu’s second feature film. The overriding perspective is radically and beautifully feminist (I say that as a man not well-versed in feminist literature or theory). Over the course of 113 minutes we see the lengths to which friends go for one another. In this case, the generosity is mostly one-way.
Anamaria Marinca gives one of the finest performances in cinematic history as Otilia. It is a much pithier version of Dorotheea Petre’s role in The Way I Spent the End of the World. What these two actresses bring to the screen is a representation of the female in diametric opposition to the typical young American woman. These characters are not stylish, nor selfish. They are not shallow. Their lives are hard and I can relate to that. These actresses make me fall in love with their characters.
Marinca embodies her role to a degree which is beyond extraordinary. Mungiu’s direction is fantastic, but Marinca makes the whole thing possible through her onscreen dedication. This is certainly one of the finest films ever made and it thankfully sheds light not only on the little-known Romanian film industry, but also on the harrowing tribulations of being female.
This is a pinnacle of synergy…where acting perfection and directorial excellence come together. I simply cannot do this film justice…no matter how many words I throw at the page.