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Marius Florea Vizante,
In 1999, during the Kosovo War,a train carrying NATO equipment, escorted by American Marines with Captain Doug Jones in command, is held back in Capalnita, a Romanian godforsaken village, by Doiaru, the station master, who blocks the train over a paperwork technicality. For five days the villagers try to take advantage of the Americans' unexpected presence. The mayor, for instance, organizes a celebration in their honor. On the other hand, sergeant David McLaren, Jones's second in command, falls in love with Monica, the crafty's station master's daughter, who dreams of a better world... And what about the Marines' initial mission? Written by
Dare to say again the same story... (A deja-vue but unlike any-other)
It's funny how similar are all the comments posted by the Romanian viewers. The first time I saw the movie I thought "God, is it possible to never forget such a sad existence? Such a bitter-sweet look upon our life? The so-called *balkanism*?..." Do we ever make a jump, like a time-lap, and have different views on what do we do every day?
Further more beyond the "national sport" (as someone once called it) of self-complaining lies the truth. A certain truth that hurts. We can all see the progress of the Romanian society; we think that the rest of the world doesn't. We point the finger on "the other side" or "the good side", so there shall be no mistakes... Well, I've been once in Capalnita, and I had a shock because after seeing this movie I realized it's all there! There's no need for sets, there's no need for trained actors... The grass still grows between the pieces of the sidewalk in the railroad station... Only today's mobile phones and the car models have changed.
Why should a film director make a "more expensive film" or a "non-low-budget" one? Do you really care about how much did it cost? Or, should really be the film an accurate projection of the real life? Was it ever so? No matter what good or wrong you you'll see in the recent Romanian society, there are certain people living in this country who can make genuine art. And finishing a work of art is utopia.
I couldn't avoid to observe Nemescu's care for details and real life like shots. Many excellent Romanian film directors tend to have a keen sense for the dynamism of the short takes by "wearing" the camera like a peer of glasses. No soundtrack is needed except the music within the scene. In the most cases the human eye concentrates on human subjects just like Nemescu's lens did in this masterpiece (from normal to long focal lens, say 85mm or even more than 200mm in some cases). One surrealist shot (with the "Romanian-made" Efel tower) caught my attention as an exception. No image stabilizer is needed when you make a non-commercial movie. On the contrary! Usually, in a very dynamic scene -like a fight- your eye captures only bits of shocking details, cause you're frightened. Complementary artificial lighting is quite moderate if not absent. Sure, this version of the displayed picture needed further cuts and refinements. And this is not because the picture is "too long". That's Hollywood's paradigm, cause art in general doesn't deal with units of measurement. Strangely as it seems for the "outsiders", for those who consider the play of the actors and the action are overreacted, this film can generate pure emotions, antipodes, anger, hope, deliverance, fervour, grace... And this is the main purpose of the 7-th art.
Yes, it's a great movie, even if it's unfortunately unfinished; like an unexploded bomb in the Romanian consciousness... But is there anything "finished" or it has ever been something really "finished" in our country, Romania? Maybe Cristian Nemescu new why it's "endless".
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