Tuesday, After Christmas
by Stefan Dobroiu
- Two years after Boogie, Romanian director Radu Muntean explores love, responsibility and hard choices in his fourth feature, Tuesday, After Christmas
They kiss, laugh, call each other names. They seem like newlyweds on their honeymoon, as cheerful as larks in their small room, where the bed almost leaves no space for anything else. But they’re not newlyweds, they're not even married: Paul (Mimi Branescu) has been married to Adriana (Mirela Oprisor) for ten years and has a little daughter. Raluca (Maria Popistasu) is his lover, it's Christmas time and he has to make a difficult choice.
Radu Muntean's fourth feature Tuesday, After Christmas [+see also:
interview: Radu Muntean
film profile] screened in Cannes' Un Certain Regard in 2010. Written with long-time partners Alexandru Baciu and Razvan Radulescu, the film tells a story about choice, restlessness and responsibility. Between jobs, visits, gift hunting and all the stress of this busy time of the year, something happens that tells Paul he must chose only one family, only one life.
After its beautiful, intimate and deceiving intro, Tuesday, After Christmas quietly develops into a family drama through long takes and long, sometimes funny or absurd, conversations between its tormented characters – but the most important things seem to be left untold. Quietness and economy are the main characteristics of this ensemble film. Its recurring theme shows up from time to time, with a subtlety that leaves the viewer wanting more.
Following Muntean's disquieting “end of youth” tale Boogie [+see also:
interview: Dragos Vîlcu
interview: Radu Muntean
film profile] (2008), from which it borrows the trio of main actors, Tuesday After Christmas has much to gain from Tudor Lucaciu's clean and luminous cinematography and art director Sorin Dima's very natural and simple settings, but some unconvincing dialogue and the outbursts of rage and bitterness fail to convey emotion in a family crisis that is at times predictable and common.
Muntean's harsh, manly and ironic humour is still there, with Paul cracking hard-to-translate jokes from time to time, but there is little room for understanding who he really is and why he makes a certain choice.
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