SIERANEVADA starts out as a day that we all lived. A man goes to a family dinner in the company of his wife. In the car, she the basin, but remains rather quiet. What they say to breathe the banality of married life. And then they arrive at the small party. People meet, speak to each other. All of this is captured by the camera of Cristi Puiu in long plan-sequences punctuated panning to follow the action. Nothing crazy to report, we follow the travels without knowing to what it will, when is the plot going to start. It goes on and on. Again and again.

We advance a long time in the blind in SIERANEVADA, before we resign ourselves to accept what we are committed. Nothing happens and in the same time there is so much going on. 2h50 of banalities, a patchwork of different situations that you may encounter during a family meal. The film plays for a long time with this banality, not having it as the sole engine of suspense as to the arrival more or less imminent, of a priest, intended to bless the apartment. Sometimes funny, sometimes dramatic, but also highly political, the film allows register changes quite suddenly, we pass an argument to a laugh. Through this microcosm, it is a portrait of the Romania Puiu draws. A Romania lost politically divided, but also on edge, ready to crack at any moment on any topic. Via a scene vital, Puiu clarifies its purpose and comes to prove that the tensions are everywhere in the country, and not only in this family : the wife of Lary is part of racing but it takes a long time to come. She calls to her husband because she has a concern and he will see it. On-site, the situation degenerates with strangers, to the point of coming to blows. If we had hope that the exit of the apartment is a breath of fresh air, it is nothing. Outside, it may be even worse.

The device stage is in the image of the main character : in withdrawal. The camera will still be there, to capture in the embrasures of doors the movements of the characters, as if the ghost of the father was observing the interactions of the family that he has left. As a result, operating quite clever of the space, playing with intelligence on the out-of-field, the entrances and exits of executives. Each piece becomes almost a plot whole, each space has its own history, its own drama. This fragmentation of the space, it is also one of the characters – a set of parts forming a family. Without a doubt, the film is lost a little in this line of conduct spectator more than participatory, although the dialogues are sharp and that the actors provide tremendously well. One remains with the impression that sometimes it takes more to listen than to see. The film works quite well when it soars in unexpected keys to be humorous and offered some of the lines and well felt. The more he advances the more he gives in has the humour, the dramatic situations (a death, a man cheats on his woman, a teenage girl dead drunk) hide behind the keys of the second degree. The tensing and then the releasing of the spectators are involved at the same time as the characters, and in particular of Lary.

Comic, dramatic, exhausting and policy, Sieranevada rout. Click To Tweet

The reason for this meal is a long time blur for us, the spectators. And when we have confirmation that this is a funeral ceremony, you will receive everything in perspective, what happened and what will happen. A laugh takes on a new meaning in these terms, as a dispute policy unwelcome. In the end why all this circus is a day of mourning ? Three characters, in the last scene, are finally at the table (during the 2 hrs 50 the attempt to pass the meal is aborted). The others are busy, caught up by pursuits futile. But they eat, then give in to a crazy laughing class. A time to celebrate the loss of a loved one, these three men have decided, in spite of their differences to enjoy rather than to wait until it is their death that is celebrated. Beautiful final note of a film experiencing.

Published on may 12, 2016.

Maxime Bedini


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