Tuesday, 30 March 2004

Many weeks ago now, I went with Luminiţa, Klara and Muslum to see a Romanian film at Arvor, the local art-house cinema. I was pretty daunted going in, because it was all in Romanian, with French subtitles, and I didn't have a lot of confidence in my ability to a) understand Romanian or b) read French rapidly enough to still be able to follow the action. Anyway, these fears were fairly well-founded, as it turned out. The reading thing didn't work at all, because it left me no time to regard the images, and understanding Romanian was limited to recognition of words that sounded similar to words I knew in Italian or, less often, French.

Still, I basically enjoyed the film. It was kind of a dark comedy commenting on the state of the country after the fall of the communist regime in the late 80s, and follows a woman who gets stuck in a small mining town, and one of the doctors there, and their consequent relationship and experiences of small-town Romania. I think it was pretty wacky in places, and had an ending that reminded me distinctly of a scene at the end of Tom Tykwer's Heaven (of course, any actual link would be the other way around, since this film came from 1992 and Heaven from 2002 or thereabouts).

Nonetheless, despite all this, I would generally recommend against seeing a film in one language and subtitled in another when you understand neither, although it is probably better than dubbing (which, incidentally, is rife in this country).

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