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01-06-2013, 03:24 AM
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Aurora (2011), directed by Cristi Puiu: For the first half of this three-hour movie, the audience just watches Viorel (played by the director) wander around Bucharest. Some of his actions seem aimless, some purposeful. He is almost invisible, a blank really, and the narrative provides no back story. The audience just has to piece together who Viorel is and what he is up to. He seems to have a cranky personality, but he is very difficult to get a bead on. When he picks up some bullets and later a gun, it at first seems he may be contemplating suicide. But he is also renovating his apartment. What kind of potential suicide renovates his apartment? Perhaps, he has other plans. This is a dandy piece of “slow” cinema where the audience is constantly trying to figure out what makes this guy tick and, especially, what are his motives. Puiu, both as director and actor, frustrates the audience’s curiosity, but deliciously. The final scenes are models of postponement of gratification, almost but never quite a tease. I can’t say the three-hours exactly whizzes by, but the movie definitely held my attention from beginning to end. Like many Romanian films, it has filaments of dark humour that, in this case, appear more frequently as the movie approaches its conclusion. Beautifully directed and acted, Aurora is a brilliantly controlled character study; given its serious, deadpan delivery, the last word I should use to describe it is playful, but somehow I can’t resist the temptation. This movie would have easily made my best of year list in 2011, probably top five.


Edit: make that top seven.

Best Movies 2011

1. Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, Ceylan, Turkey
2. The Turin Horse, Tarr, Hungary
3. Café de Flore, Vallee, Canada
4. Drive, Refn, Denmark/US
5. A Separation, Farhadi, Iran
6. Take Shelter, Nichols, US
7. Aurora, Puiu, Romania
8. The Skin I Live In, Almodovar, Spain
9. Le Havre, Kaurismaki, Finland
10. Tomboy, Sciamma, France
10a. Mysteries of Lisbon, Ruiz, Chile/Portugal

Last edited by kihei: 01-07-2013 at 10:33 AM.
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