Tuesday, After Christmas

97 minutes

Some of the finest political filmmaking in recent years has come from the Romanian New Wave, whose hypnotic long takes carefully delineate time and space and, in so doing, create a palpable sense of confinement. Radu Muntean's disarming fourth feature manages to apply the same aesthetic to domestic melodrama without curtailing its force. The story, about an investment banker (Mimi Branescu) cheating on his wife (Mirela Oprisor) with a vivacious woman ten years his junior (Maria Popistasu), develops through scenes of quiet, almost voyeuristic intimacy, only to erupt in the final act when the husband confesses. As in The Death of Mr. Lazarescu or Muntean's own The Paper Will Be Blue, every character is fully realized (three of the four leads are veterans of those films) and the social observation is cutting. Muntean derives much dread from the nouveau riche milieu, which begins to seem like a thin veneer for the characters' pitiless self-interest.

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