16 March 2010

The Other Irene / Cealalta Irina (Andrei Gruzsniczki, 2009, Romania)

The Other Irina was described in Variety by Ronnie Scheib as a cross between The Vanishing and Jeanne Dielman. The first one seems clear enough but the latter seems to have eluded me. It's a typically spare Romanian film about a mall security guard whose wife works for a shady Arabic chemicals company and gets transfered to Cairo. He doesn't want her to go because he's afraid for her. She goes and comes back with a sort of makeover and after a little suspicious behavior she goes again. On the day she is supposed to return he discovers she is dead and her death is believed to be a suicide. He then has to unravel the mystery of his wife's death. Was she murdered? Was she having an affair? What is being covered up here? The film is incredibly ambiguous. The man is clearly in denial but is there something fishy here all the same? If you know me, you know I have a gay old diva complex and am not usually too interested in male performances but I think Andi Vasluianu deserves a lot of credit for the strength of his movie on account of the strength of his performance.

I've noticed that a dominant theme in most of the films I've seen at the EU Film Fest so far seems relate to the effects of the evolving cultures and economies of Europe. It seems like there's a lot of displacement and transformation and it seems like it must be a confusing time there. More in Eastern Europe but even in Italy's I Am Love, which I'll write about tomorrow when I'm not so tired and I can think better...

My brain isn't fully engaged right now but the short of it is that I liked this movie quite a bit. It's not as thrilling as, say, 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days but it's at least as interesting as Police, Adjective. B+

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