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„Police, Verb” – the most gratifying possible moviegoing experience


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Cannes ’10 Day 3: Skill never sleeps
Posted by Wesley Morris May 14, 2010 03:28 PM

[…] if „Money Never Sleeps” is half as good as what I was on my way to see before running into Shia and the family Stone, then hello, Ollie! Welcome back to form! If not, I urge him to see more Romanian movies, especially those by Cristi Puiu. Pure cinema is many things to many people. It’s many things to me. This morning „pure cinema” was a reduction in which a filmmaker — Puiu — distilled a movie to its essential formal elements. The Romanians are superb reductionists. How pure is their cinema? There’s very little shot-reverse shot business and zero-tolernance policy for hand-holding — no soundtrack music, no narration, no frills or frippery, basically. Only what is necessary to produce the most gratifying possible moviegoing experience.

I find their approach to filmmaking more palatable than what the Danes, through Dogma 95, tried to achieve in the 1990s with their bid for cinematic purity. There’s nothing acutely peevish or petulant about what the Romanians are up to. Their lack of flamboyant style doesn’t announce itself. It just continues the long, great line of realism that runs back to start of the last century. Puiu’s closest forefather is Éric Rohmer, whose Six Moral Tales Puiu wants to acknowledge with his own moral-minded sextet set in and around Bucharest. 2005’s „The Death of Mr. Lazarescu” was the first. „Aurora,” which premiered this morning, is the second.

So far, Puiu’s interest in cinema as an instrument of reality differs from Roemer’s insofar as, he’s interested in societal behavior rather than sexual situations. Puiu might be the best in his class at understanding how to tell a story with deceptively minimal effort. „Aurora” confirms a unique formal mastery that extends from the choice to withhold information. A director’s statement or press notes might clarify what’s going on, but the pleasure and occasional shock that are part of the Romanian experience stem from piecing the action together.

We’re invited to spend a day in the life of a man named Viorel; he’s an educated, solidly middle-class father, about 41 or 42, and played by Puiu himself.  Viorel doesn’t appreciate contradiction or second-guessing, and he has a double-barelled rifle packed in a duffle bag. It’s very Charles Bronson. We don’t know why Viorel wakes up with a woman who appears to be his wife in the opening scene but goes home later to a different apartment that’s under renovation. We’re left for the better part of three hours (they feel like 90 minutes!) to wonder about what’s going on. And: What is the deal with the gun, and why he is using it? Even once we understand, we don’t. Which is one of the marvels of this movie and very part of its point.

Should he perhaps become too convinced of his greatness, Puiu risks becoming another Lars von Trier, in which the ego becomes inseparable from his mastery craft. This movie has four cinematographers. I’m not sure what brought that on (Puiu says he couldn’t get a look he wanted). But for now, he’s just a very good moviemaker. This is the visceral brother to Corneliu Porumboiu’s „Police, Adjective,” which debuted here last year. Porumboiu’s movie was a fiercely intellectual meditation on action, inaction, a kind of only-in-Romania authoritarianism. My buddy Ben Kenigsberg called „Aurora”: „Police, Verb.” Puiu’s meditation is more direct. This time the dictator has a gun.

It’s refreshing to be in the hands of a director who knows what violence is, who knows what a terrible jolt it is to hear a gunshot, whether it’s fired 100 feet away from the camera or 10 inches. Puiu makes killing look easy but keeps it extremely difficult to watch. Every time Viorel pointed his rifle, my seatmate and I covered our eyes. Life still means something in this director’s world. So does art.

© 2010 NY Times Co.

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Fondator RomâniaPozitivă.ro, Florin este educator de emoție și gând pozitiv. Florin susține acest demers prin programele sale de training și prin platforma de informație și educație pozitivă, cu peste 30 de autori și peste 30 000 de articole de Bine despre România publicate încă din 2006. Florin are aproape 20 de ani de experiență ca trainer pentru circa 10 000 de participanți, iar domeniile de expertiză includ: facilitare de procese de învățare, orientarea spre soluție (psihologie pozitivă aplicată pentru rezolvarea problemelor), antreprenoriat social, ”train the trainers”, design thinking, managementul echipelor, management de proiect, recrutare şi selecţie, comunicare, teambuilding. Florin a lucrat 4 ani în industria berii alături de InBev având atribuții de training pe mai multe procese de vânzări și de business pentru o rețea cu peste 40 de firme de distribuție de bunuri de larg consum pe întreg teritoriul țării. Florin și-a început cariera profesională alături de echipa AIMS Timișoara - 4 ani de experiență în recrutare și selecție de personal și training. Florin are experiență ca moderator/speaker pentru diverse evenimente și conferințe: TEDx București, Impact HUB, Zilele Biz, Future Makers, ASPEN Leadership Program, Leaders for Justice Program, Automotive Forum, “Conferința Anului Viitor”, Inspiro, Bucharest Integrity Gathering, Conferința de Voluntariat, The Conference about Happiness, “Fabricat în Țara lui Andrei”cu NESsT & Petrom, WWF Școli Verzi în Europa, Criminalitate Forestieră WWF, Interpol, Client Earth), TEDx Galați, TEDx Constanța. Majoritatea clienţilor lui Florin sunt din aria de business, companiile activând în domenii foarte diferite (servicii, IT, automotive, bunuri de larg consum, consultanţă) pe întreg teritoriul ţării. Florin este implicat şi în proiecte de training și facilitare pentru organizaţii nonguvernamentale. Florin a fost membru entuziast în organizațiile AIESEC Timișoara și ARDOR Banat. Florin desfăşoară şi proiecte de training și facilitare în sistem deschis („open training”), un exemplu de astfel de program fiind cursul „Train the Trainers” cu Institutul Român de Training și Training Cafe. Motivaţia principală este dorinţa de a schimba lucrurile în Bine în România. Florin este certificat Formator A.N.C., White Belt @ ABInBev. Florin este mare fan de biciclete, mișcare în aer liber, muzică uneori chiar clasică și indiană.