Aurora (2010) ***

November 6th, 2012
Author: Meredith Taylor

Writer/Director: Cristi Puiu

Cast: Cristi Puiu Clara Voda, Valeria Seciu, Luminita Gheorghiu, Catrinel Dumistrescu, Gelu Colceag

181min     Romanian with subtitles

Aurora has Cristi Puiu flitting about nervously in his Bucharest neighbourhood with sparse but trenchant dialogue, he’s also written and directed this cinema vérité drama. Tension mounts when he starts to build a gun but after an hour it’s difficult to keep watching his  endless daily routine without some clue of what’s really going on with his life.  Friends and family come and go but none stands out enough to keep our attention although Puiu does offer a good insight of life in contemporary Romania.  When the action finally gets going after nearly three hours of watching and waiting, the Kafkaesque showdown comes as an anticlimax .

Cristi Puiu’s debut feature, darkly funny The Death of Mr Lazarescu (2005), won critical acclaim in the Un Certain Regard strand at Cannes but was unsuccessful at the Box Office, and I suspect this outing will go the same way due to its long running time which is taxing on the viewer and commercially unfeasible for independent cinemas: a shame because Cristi Puiu has some real talent as a director and writer.  MT

AURORA is showing from 9th November 2012 at the Curzon Mayfair

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