Thanks for the Use of the Hall - Archive

This archive contains posts from May 2007 to November 2008. More recent posts are at:

Name: Dan Sallitt
Location: New York, New York, United States

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Paper Will Be Blue: Walter Reade, April 21, 2008

If you haven't made plans yet for tomorrow (and if you're not headed to BAM to see Tomu Uchida's rare and well-regarded Twilight Saloon), I recommend Radu Muntean's The Paper Will Be Blue, screening in the Walter Reade's Romanian film series at 6 pm on Monday, April 21. A 2006 Locarno premiere, Paper shares a subject - the Romanian people's moral confusion as the Ceau┼čescu regime teetered in December 1989 - with Corneliu Porumboiu's 12:08 East of Bucharest, but is closer in style and attitude to Cristi Puiu's superb The Death of Mr. Lazarescu. (Paper and Lazarescu share a writer, Razvan Radulescu, whom I'll be looking out for from now on.) Like Lazarescu, Paper racks up sharp observations of a large number of characters in a shifting geography, but does not use many closeups or focus on individual character development. After a stunning opening that shows off Muntean's skill in deploying the signifiers of documentary, the film perhaps takes on a bit of a static quality, not quite attaining the subterranean mythological development that Lazarescu's subject matter provides. But the film never loses its intelligence and its balance between satire and sympathy. Maybe there really is a new Romanian film movement after all....

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Blogger acquarello said...

This was a highlight for me too, as was Occident and Orienteering. The Lazarescu comparison is right on the mark - the humor, the odyssey, the subverted sense of tragedy.

April 21, 2008 10:38 AM  
Blogger Dan Sallitt said...

Acquarello - the 1980 film The Pale Light of Regret was worthwhile too, I thought: it tells a big, novelistic story with a lot of ellipsis and emotional indirection, and maintains a sense of surprise throughout. Its screenings are all over - but, if memory serves, Mircea Daneliuc's Microphone Test, which shows on April 22 at 3:45 pm, is a good movie from a director who's generally worth following.

April 21, 2008 4:23 PM  
Blogger acquarello said...

Darn, I was afraid I was missing something good. My train back to DC was at 3:40 yesterday afternoon, and I was debating whether or not to catch The Pale Light of Sorrow before heading out, and opted not to since I'd be cutting it close. Did you stay for Forest of the Hanged? That one sounded promising too, but my knees were killing me since Return of the Banished, so I bailed out after Orienteering.

April 21, 2008 7:19 PM  
Blogger Dan Sallitt said...

I wasn't wild about Forest of the Hanged, myself. Ciulei has a good eye for composition, but he hits his themes way too hard and too steadily for my taste - the characters just seemed like puppets.

April 21, 2008 9:14 PM  

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