Opening 12 Jan 2012
Cristi (Dragos Bucur), a plain-clothed policeman, is trailing behind a youth through the lonely streets of a small Rumanian town, like a hunter and his prey. When not staking, Cristi sits in his tiny, bleak office writing the protocol, having doubts about his assignment. He is convinced that this kid is no dealer, feeling uncomfortable to arrest him for a handful of hashish which will send him to prison for up to seven years. His superior (Vlad Ivanov) does not agree with Cristo’s arguments and challenges him to explain the word “conscience”. And how does he interpret the word “law”? A furious – but absurd – battle of words follows, with the Rumanian dictionary in the centre of attention. Cristi is forced to decide between his personal conviction and professional obligations.
This film gives a new definition to the category police thriller by concentrating on static long shots rather than building up tension with fast action. At the end it becomes a deadpan mocking of the system. It’s not a film that will fill the big movie houses but will surely find its appreciative audience.
This is only Corniliu Porumboiu’s second film, and he received the Foreign Press Award at the Hamburg Filmfest 2009. For his first long feature 12:08 East of Bucharest he won the Camera d'Or in 2007. (Birgit Schrumpf)