Dir.: Calin Peter Netzer; Cast: Diana Cavallioti, Mircea Posteinicu, Adrian Titieni, Igor Caras-Romanov; Rumania 2017, 125 min.
Calin Peter Netzer won the Golden Bear in 2013 with his mother son drama Child’s Pose. Ana, Mon Amour is another thoughtful, persuasive portrait of shifting power within a relationship, this time between a man and woman in love.
Ana (Cavaliotti) and Toma (Posteinicu) meet at university. Their intense relationship suits the rather introverted Ana, who is suffers from childhood trauma. And Toma,, whose last girlfriend cheated on him, is pleased to be the only person in Ana’s life and openly admits that one he loves for her ardent faithfulness. But soon dark secrets start to come to light and it emerges that Ana’s father Igor (Caras-Romanov) is in reality her stepfather, and highly possessive of his stepdaughter. When Igor dies a year later, Ana is grief stricken and takes medication for her anxiety only to discover she is expecting. After the birth of her son Tudor, Ana goes back to work and gradually changing the dynamic in her relationship with Toma, who regresses into a hypochondriac recluse. Ana starts to enjoy the buzz of her workplace, gets a divorce, while Toma tries, with the help of the analyst, to come to terms with his past: his mother did not love his father, and concentrated her affections on him.
His father, much more in need of his mother than the other way round, is living a lie: pretending that he only stayed with the family for Toma’s sake. Toma is left with explanations, but no way out: he has become an amalgamation of the old Ana and his father: a hypochondriac recluse, who pretends he cares for Tudor, but really only wants to win Ana back. He even spies on Ana, and accuses her of being unfaithful with a man, who is in fact her birthfather, who helps her to come to terms with her past and emancipation from Toma.
Calin Peter Netzer’s slow-burn character drama is almost a clinical study of the phycology of a relationship, savours and lingering over each meticulous detail and development. DoP Andrei Butica, who also shot Child’s Pose, finds innovative angels to keep the audience engaged in the story but Cavallioti, is the real star of Ana: her metamorphosis from doormat to liberated woman is full of nuances, both moving and infuriating at the same time. In spite of its length, Ana is a watchable, intense and intimate portrait of female liberation. AS
ANA, MON AMOUR | BERLINALE 9-19 FEBRUARY 2017 | IN COMPETITION