By Robert Koehler
(Click on the thumbnails for larger pictures.)
View from the balcony level, looking south to the sea, from the Grand Palais prior to the 8:30am screening of Wang Xiaoshuai’s Chongqing Blues, which drifted into sentimental bathos by the end of it’s humdrum playing time. It was a fairly inexplicable selection for the Competition, no better and no worse than most of Wang’s films to date….
The press waits in line for Im Sang-soo’s remake of the acidic 1960 The Housemaid–lines are long, but we all get in….
After The Housemaid, my second iPad sighting: care of the always high-techie Jose Carlos Avellar, a dear friend and the dean of Brazilian film critics. Jose is displaying a ten-year-old photo of (lt to rt) programmers Denis De La Roca, Lucy Virgen and Amiens director Jose Garcia, at the Guadalajara film festival….
Avellar, showing off his iPad, to Screen International critic Lisa Nesselson’s amusement….
They’re a bit of blur in the intense spotlights in the Debussy Theatre, but trust me, this is the cast and artistic crew of Radu Muntean’s Tuesday, After Christmas taking its bows at the end of the screening. Muntean, best known for The Paper Will Be Blue and Boogie, delivers Un Certain Regard’s second strong film with an intensely detailed look at all sides of a married man’s affair and the ramifications for his family.
Muntean (with co-writer Razvan Radulescu, of First of All, Felicia which our FESTWORKS team programmed in Los Angeles last year) studies his characters in pairs, often in extended takes shot in a widescreen aspect ratio with a telephoto lens placing the actors at midrange in the shot. The demands on the actors are hard to fathom, and to a great degree, Tuesday, After Christmas is a tribute to Muntean’s actors, particularly Mimi Branescu as the husband Paul, Mirela Oprisor as Paul’s ultimately aggrieved and enraged wife Adriana and Maria Popistasu as Paul’s lover Raluca, whose opening scene with Branescu is one of the most natural and unaffectedly erotic postcoital scenes between a couple in recent film.
But Tuesday fools the audience with such a scene; it is about the emotional needs of each side in a relationship, the geometry of betrayals and the shocking suddenness when a married life comes to a grinding halt….