When Evening Falls on Bucharest or Metabolism
Directed by Corneliu Porumboiu
A director with two weeks left on his latest production fakes an ulcer to pursue a romance with his lead actress.
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★★★★½ review by Joe on Letterboxd
Kind of like a Romanian riff on The Player, opening on an extended backseat take of a director and his not-quite-leading lady discussing the inherent limitations and benefits of film vs digital (film can only shoot for 11 minutes; digital, much longer). Similarly to Police, Adjective I find the style so pleasurable that the seemingly rambling conversations don't even register as remotely boring for me - quite the contrary, in fact, as this is one of the best pictures of a dysfunctional/kind of creepy romantic pairing I've seen since Modern Romance.
Also: Did anyone else notice that in the scene of director and actress repeatedly and tediously going over a scene again and again, the director character looks a lot like the black-turtlenecked Jack Nicholson in The Shining? That's funny, right?
★★★½ review by Kurdt on Letterboxd
More Romanian New Wave goodness. This one though has no political undertones or is even that serious really. It's about a director who's sleeping with his leading lady and is mostly just long takes of them discussing the film, rehearsing, eating dinner. It's mildly amusing, I didn't really laugh but everything is so extraneous that it's almost like Porumboiu made the film just because he could. I actually found the discussions rather interesting, like the opening scene where the director talks about not filming digitally and what he sees movies being in fifty years' time, where the two of them talk about Antonioni and Monica Vitti, and even when they're at a restaurant discussing how much influence chopsticks had on Chinese cuisine. It follows the same structure as most of the films from this movement, and while it examines far less important issues than it's contemporaries, it's still a pretty fun 89 minutes. Sometimes that's all you need.
★★★½ review by Vahid Mortazavi on Letterboxd
Still my favorite of Porumboiu's works. A very hard film to define; it acts more like a 'film-essay' always seeking its own boundaries by questioning the context: long takes, realism, Romanian cinema, ..., and the medium of film itself. Sharp and clever!
★★★½ review by Forrest Cardamenis on Letterboxd
Strikes me as a director being critical of himself and the Romanian New Wave without being fully ready to break from it. The low-grade endoscopy video hints at what is to come (Porumboiu's The Second Game is a VHS tape) and hints at that departure, and the ending suggests he is less concerned with his director and the rules than bigger issues of class and gender as they manifest in cinema (The Treasure confirms this).
★★★★ review by Evan Douglas on Letterboxd
Disjointed, translucent, lovely.
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