Is there really no third option for the characters in this short film of the great Romanian director Lucian Pintilie? This is what the title says, but the characters live in world of ambiguities which is not one of easy black-and-white situations or decisions. It's the end of the Romanian war against the Soviet Union (but not the end of the WWII yet), German and Romanian are apparently only allies, and in a few weeks they will be enemies. Two German officers stop for a lunch with a group of Romanian officers. As the story develops a pair of rare post stamps acquired in very different occasions underlines the differences between the group of officers.
The film lasts less than 40 minutes and it looks like a simple story, but it has many complex ramifications about history, about honor, about how material value translates in life and survival. Director Pintilie works beautifully with his actors, especially Victor Rebengiuc, a preferred actor of Pintilie is impressing, the space of the close room where all happens is used in a smart and unexpected manner, and this short film has style and deepness. Pintilie did not make a full length film for quite a few years, and while a new Romanian generation of film makers finds its way to international recognition, he is still able in my opinion to do important work. He is actually the mentor and part of this new generation.
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