85 minutes 2013

This assured black comedy by Adrian Sitaru modifies the epic formalism of the Romanian new wave, with its geometrical frames and endlessly long takes, into something more digestible than recent endurance tests like Cristi Puiu's Aurora (2010). There are some marvelous comic set pieces here: in one 11-minute take, set around a kitchen table, a woman brings home a live hen for dinner, and her 12-year-old daughter bargains with the squeamish dad for spending money if she'll go into the bathroom, the open door of which is centered in the frame behind them, and kill it in the tub with a kitchen knife. The story also encompasses two other families in the same apartment building, each with its own animals in peril, and these little dramas, which play out alongside human stories of anguish and loss, underline our own fragility in a cruel world. In Romanian with subtitles.

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