Radu Jude directs a provocative, didactic, inventive and highly intelligent investigation into Romania’s participation in the ethnic cleansing of the Third Reich during the 1941 Odessa massacre on the Eastern Front.
Tara Moarta is built upon what a huge collection of recently discovered Costică Acsinte’s photographs from the 1930’s and 40’s (and a jewish doctor’s journal from the same time) reveal about Romania and what they do not show.
Inspired by Romanian author Max Blecher’s eponymous novel, it centers on Emanuel, a man in his early 20s, who spends his days at a sanatorium on the Black Sea coast, where he falls in love with another patient.
Radu Jude is one of the highlights of Romania’s new wave. In 2007, “The Tube with a Hat” was one of the most prized short-films of the year (including Best Short-Film in Indielisboa), followed by 4 short-films and 2 feature films: “The Happiest Girl in the World” (2009) and “Everybody in Our Family” (2012), both shown in Indielisboa’s International Competition and 2014 retrospective of Romanian cinema. “Aferim!” takes us through Romania’s feudal lands in the 19th century.)
When working class teenager Delia wins a luxury car in a promotional campaign, she and her parents travel to Bucharest to shoot a commercial in which she must thank the sponsoring company for the car. As the shoot wears on, the car slowly becomes both the object and catalyst of an absurd clash of desire, values, and will between Delia’s cash-strapped parents and her youthful self.
Very early in the morning, Marian, a 7 years old boy from a small and poor Romanian village, wakes up his father and persuades him to go to the city, in order to fix their old TV set.
Tavi, a man in his late thirties, discovers that Alexandra, his 4 years old daughter, is not calling him Dad anymore.
In a fourteenth century building, Trissakia 3 shows us the passing of time as the sunlight moves during the day and illuminates the past, directly or reflected, pointing the future.
The family doesn’t need stories, it only needs to be observed, as Radu Jude, filmmaker long linked to IndieLisboa, does in exemplary way in this 2nd feature film. What could be the beginning of a happy holiday becomes a nightmare for this father who just wants to spend time with his daughter, from whom he lives separate due to the divorce. The spiral of violence that the film proposes is consciously used by the director through the choice of close shots and hand-held camera, creating a huis clos to which the viewer feels as trapped as the character. And if you think that movies are only there for extraordinary storytelling, look inside. Then watch your backyard. (Miguel Valverde)