DRAMA; 1hr 52min (Romanian with subtitles)
STARRING: Luminita Gheorghiu, Bogdan Dumitrache
Home alone: Gheorghiu
Smother love is blindly loyal. Although she is bitterly disappointed in the glaring lack of regard that her 34-year-old son, Barbu (Dumitrache), has for her, as well as in his choice of partner, 60-year-old Bucharest set designer and architect Cornelia (Gheorghiu, a brittle colossus in every scene) is instantly on the offensive when Barbu runs over and kills a child. In police custody, Barbu is mulish and subdued. Not so Cornelia: swaddled in fur, exuding privileged entitlement, she is a thorn in the side of the authorities and a tactical missile behind the scenes.
Director Călin Peter Netzer’s handheld MO is choppily naturalistic — always a queasy ride but one that puts you, docu-style, squarely in the unpolished, negative moment. When the unprepossessing Barbu does rally, he’s hostile and insolent. “Blow me,” says contemptuously to his helpless mother, before stomping off. Cornelia is undeterred, and that is her tragic flaw. Even when rejected, wounded and betrayed, she’s caught up in a fixated adoration that sees only what it wants to, poured into a person who essentially doesn’t exist.