Dir/Wri: Cristian Mungiu | Cast: Marin Girgore, Judith State, Macrina Baladeanu, Orolya Moldovan, Andrei Finti, Mark Blenyesi, Ovidiu Crisan | Drama 125′
A young Romanian boy has a nasty experience in the woods on his way to school one morning and this echoes the widespread social unrest in the Romanian village where he lives with his family.
Not quite as richly satisfying as his earlier fare, Cristian Mungiu unloads a truckload of issues in his latest Cannes Palme d’Or hopeful, a dour drama that unfolds in the multicultural region of Transylvania, once home to Dracula but now to the equally unsetting evil of racial tension and political dysfunction, both at home and further afield. .
R.M.N is another rather time indulgent drama – and there a quite a few in this year’s Cannes competition. It casts a slow-burn gaze over one of the last countries to join the EU through a group of diverse characters trying to make the best of things. Amongst them is the rather intractable Matthias (Marin Grigore) whose bad time in Germany has brought him back to the family fold in his birthplace of Recia, where he joins his estranged wife Ana (Baladeanu), young son Rudi ((Blenyesi), who has not spoken since the forest interlude, and an ageing father Papa Otto (Fini). Matthias is also attempting to rekindle a relationship with Hungarian-speaking Csilla (Judith State), a musician who runs the local bakery where she is managing two new employees from Sri Lanka whose arrival has caused ructions in the local community, along with Matthias’ reappearance in town, in the run up to Christmas.
Once again the mountains provide a dour but scenic backdrop on the widescreen, and this allows for many scenes to play out uncut including one revealing scene where the locals air their racial musings in one uninterrupted static sequence. An impromptu concert provides a welcome burst of Christmas spirit that adds light relief to the simmering tensions of village life. Once again Mungiu provides an engaging contemporary snapshot of his changing homeland but it feels like a film we have already seen before. MT
CANNES FILM FESTIVAL 2022 | IN COMPETITON.