Emanuel spends his days at a sanatorium. Falling in love with another patient, he narrates his and his fellow patients' attempts to live life to the fullest as their bodies slowly fade away, but their minds refuse to give up.
Marius is a divorced man in his late thirties. His five year-old daughter Sofia lives with her mother, which causes Marius a deep frustration. On the day Marius arrives to take his daughter... See full summary »
"I do not care if we go down in history as barbarians." These words, spoken in the Council of Ministers of the summer of 1941, started the ethnic cleansing on the Eastern Front. The film attempts to comment on this statement.
In 1911-12, the Romanian movie director Grigore Brezianu and the financial tycoon Leon Popescu made together the 2 hours long movie "Romania's Independence" - an as faithful as possible ... See full summary »
Marius Florea Vizante,
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.
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 Director Radu Jude said in the N.Y. Times (Sept. 8, 2015) that the word appears often in historical documents and therefore came to be part of the story, adding a touch of irony: "The characters in the film say 'Aferim!'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 »
When Carfin gets neutered, there is no blood spilled. See more »
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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