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Aferim! (2015)

Not Rated | | Adventure, Comedy, Drama | 22 January 2016 (USA)
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1:51 | Trailer
Set in early 19th century Romania, a policeman, Costandin, is hired by a nobleman to find a Gypsy slave who has run away from his estate after having an affair with his wife.

Director:

Radu Jude

Writers:

Radu Jude (screenplay), Florin Lazarescu
23 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Teodor Corban ... Costandin
Mihai Comanoiu Mihai Comanoiu ... Ionita
Toma Cuzin ... Carfin Pandolean
Alexandru Dabija Alexandru Dabija ... Boyar Iordache Cîndescu
Luminita Gheorghiu ... Smaranda Cîndescu
Victor Rebengiuc ... Stan Paraschiv
Alberto Dinache Alberto Dinache ... Tintiric
Alexandru Bindea Alexandru Bindea ... Priest on the road
Mihaela Sirbu ... Sultana
Adina Cristescu Adina Cristescu ... Zambila
Serban Pavlu ... Traveler at the Inn
Gabriel Spahiu ... Vasile
Dan Nicolaescu Dan Nicolaescu ... Merchant
Liviu Ornea Liviu Ornea ... Abbot
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Mihaela Drãgan Mihaela Drãgan ... Carfin's Wife
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Storyline

Set in early 19th century Wallachia, when a local policeman, Costandin, is hired by Iordache, a boyar (local noble), to find Carfin, a Gypsy slave who had run away from the boyar's estate after having an affair with his wife, Sultana. Costandin sets out to find the fugitive, beginning a journey full of adventures. Gypsy slavery lasted from the 14th century up until the middle of the 19th century, a situation which is very little known and almost nonexistent in the public debate today, although its impact continues to influence Romania's social life.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook

Language:

Romanian | Turkish | Romany

Release Date:

22 January 2016 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Aferim! See more »

Filming Locations:

Romania See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

EUR1,250,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$15,892, 24 January 2016

Gross USA:

$108,110

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$350,110
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

19th-century Wallachia was heavily influenced by the Ottoman Empire, and the word "aferim" is Turkish for "bravo". Director Radu Jude said in the N.Y. Times (Sept. 8, 2015) that the word appears often in historical documents and therefore came to be part of the story, adding a touch of irony: "The characters in the film say 'Aferim!' to each other as they feel they are doing the right thing," he said. "It is very symbolic, this aspect." See more »

Goofs

When Carfin gets neutered, there is no blood spilled. See more »

Quotes

Costandin: Lifeless out of life, life out of lifeless.
See more »

Connections

References The Moromete Family (1987) See more »

Soundtracks

Doua dansuri muntenest
Composed by Florin Iordan, Daniel Pop, Mihai Balabas, Beatrice Iordan, Dinu Petrescu (as Dinu Traian Petrescu)
Performed by Trei Parale: Florin Iordan (cobza, whistles, flute), Daniel Pop (whistle), Mihai Balabas (violin), Beatrice Iordan (cobza), Dinu Petrescu (drum) (as Dinu Traian Petrescu)
Recording, mixing and mastering by Constantin Grajdian
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Easily best Romanian film of the decade
11 December 2015 | by Radu_ASee all my reviews

I'm of Romanian descent, so I'm not entirely objective on this, but as far as film can actually change perceptions of how we see the world around us, "Aferim" is without a doubt an unmatched masterpiece and an absolute first in many ways.

It's a rare Romanian historical drama set before the 20th century (with the exception of historical biopics of communist era). It's thematically a Western (or Eastern), since it involves a long journey on horseback, strongly and intentionally recalling "The Searchers". Most importantly, it's an endless series of interchanges with representatives of society back then, by which virtually every social problem of the present day is touched.

The genius of this film is that it follows a timeline, through which the spectator is at times bemused and at times horrified by the behavior of the main protagonist, a constable charged with capturing a runaway slave accompanied by his inept son. In a thoroughly realistic way unlike any historical film I have ever seen, we see him treat priests and nobles with respect and peasants and Roma with indifferent cruelty. Sometimes he shows a conscience, as when bonding with his son or asking the slave owner for clemency upon returning him. Sometimes he is shockingly ruthless, like when he sells a Rom boy they also picked up to a passing noble because he wants to afford drinking and whoring.

Not only is this the first portrayal of slavery in Romania, a topic not taught in schools and therefore quite controversial. It is a completely naturalistic portrayal as well, unlike any emotionally charged tales out of Hollywood. It easily beats the credibility of "12 Years a Slave", because Jude maintains a sardonic, matter-of-fact narrative instead of drenching his film in moral lessons about the nature of good and evil. Teodor Corban delivers his cop character as a product of his times, with no judgment or exoneration of his actions. If there is one slight weakness at all, it's that the dialogues are sometimes very fast and probably very difficult to translate. As a Romanian raised abroad, I found myself guessing at roughly half of the vocabulary, and even though I got most of the irony, I would not know how to explain it to foreigners and keep the meaning intact.

"Aferim!" means "Excellent!" as a Turkish exclamation (recalling that Wallachia at he time was a vassal to the Ottoman Empire - when the constable sends a Turkish carriage the wrong way to spite the Turks, this is how his son praises him. So the title perfectly describes the film in one word - a tale of a time when the ignorant hated everyone else, not realizing how similar they were. When the privileged few treated the abject poor as mere objects, aided by the apathy of commoners, who could not imagine any alternative. This horror mixed with irony resonated strongly with audiences, and would certainly justify a foreign language Oscar next year.


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