The hero is a retired army officer in the period of transition in Romania from the Communist rule to democracy. As many aged people during these times he loses a lot in position and ... See full summary »
Somewhere in Palilula is placed in the 60s in Romania and tells the story of Serafim, a fresh graduate of medical school, brought by a gloomy whim of destiny to the town of Palilula. ... See full summary »
Anne Marie Chertic,
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Marius Florea Vizante,
The hero is a retired army officer in the period of transition in Romania from the Communist rule to democracy. As many aged people during these times he loses a lot in position and material situation and is too aged to adapt and start building something from zero. His last resort is the family, but his home and family is also slowly decomposing under the pressure of the times. His elder son dies in a stupid home accident (the film starts with his funeral), than his only other child, a daughter moves to America in the search of a better material life. His life seems to fall under the control of his in-law, a mercantile and much better adapted man, who slowly seems to deprive him not only of his children, but also of his pride and human dignity. The violent end is unexpected, although typical for the Pintilie's movies, but if you look back and reflect on what you've seen on screen, everything before was a logical building of the end. Written by
Could have been a great story about a communist orthodox burial
I watched the first quarter hour of this movie. And I was blown away. I even shouted an expletive. This is not a movie to watch alone. So I postponed it to see it with a small group of friends and popped in another disc.
The first 15 minutes were good. Probably the first 40 minutes were good. Good camera: fixed when it needed to be, and mobile otherwise. There frame wasn't crowded with useless objects. The characters were well drawn. The whole scene was made to point out the ridicule of the necromantic eastern death ritual in its mixture with modernism.
Than the story splits into branches. And the story falls on itself, like a flat tire, like a grounded weather balloon. The shock scene, featuring full frontal nudity is wonderful in itself. The actors do their job well, unlike other Romanian made movies where the actors have an unconvinced, stressed voice, apparently aware of their own nakedness. But the scene is from another movie, as it has no value for the story of Niki. Or Flo. Or the death. And than it strikes you: WHAT is the story? The title and the silly talk given by Lucian Pintilie at the end of the DVD say something about Niki. The french title says Niki and Flo. Yet you have a burial which takes the whole first part. And later on you have the son featured in the foreground. Than you have the daughter and her husband. Badly drawn, the never truly develop. But they take almost another third of the movie. They have the foreground, they generate the shock. At the end of the movie I knew that nothing has happened. In the style of script writer Cristi Puiu all you get is a family picture, a snapshot to fuel some nostalgics about the goodbad old times. Niki never changes in an hour an a half. Flo never changes. The wives are just misogynistic accessories. The children are there. But are they there? For those who lived the era, maybe the can identify the type, the cliché young military star with a father that is «somebody» in the army, the young computer operator looking for a job in the West, but the international viewer doesn't have that chance.
In the end is the same old story: a cardboard picture hanged in some romantic scene. The story of Niki, and not the dead son as I assumed, revealed by the dynamic Flo. A story that could have been done in 20 wonderful minutes without all this fluff and prop. But Pintilie never really went away from the school that generated Sergiu Nicolaescu. Film is a job, film is a way to make money and be somebody, just like the army is for Niki. In a way, the story of Niki is the story of Lucian Pintilie. But its more like a family album, as the events build up a chronology and not a story.
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