Aferim! | Chicago Reader

Aferim!

With a title that translates roughly as Attaboy!, this engaging and percipient period comedy (2015) focuses on the enslavement of the Roma people in 19th-century Romania, a subject that, until recently, was seldom aired by Romanian nativists, much less condemned, and that continues to resonate in the second-class treatment of the Roma today. Set in 1835 in the rural principality of Wallachia, the film follows a constable (Teodar Corban) and his son (Mihai Comanoiu), who serves as his deputy, as they search for a runaway slave (Toma Cuzin) who was sleeping with his master's wife. Writer-director Radu Jude is ably assisted by cowriter Florin Lazarescu in crafting wry, unsentimental dialogue about the meaning of manhood, and by cinematographer Marius Panduru in creating immense landscapes, shot in black-and-white 35-millimeter widescreen, that evoke the classical American western. In Romanian, Turkish, and Romany with subtitles.

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