Sieranevada

Romania 2016. Dir: Cristi Puiu. 176 min. DCP

“One of the best films of 2016 ... Puiu is confirming himself as one of the most truly distinctive (and philosophically fascinating) voices of 21st-century filmmaking.”
GEOFF ANDREW SIGHT & SOUND

Writer-director Cristi Puiu (The Death of Mister Lazarescu), high priest of the Romanian New Wave, returns with a three-hour, deadpan domestic comedy that reasserts his place as one of contemporary cinema’s most acute, unsparing observers of human behaviour. Three days after the 2015 terrorist attacks on the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris, a sizable Romanian family gathers in a cramped Bucharest apartment to bid farewell to their recently departed patriarch. Over a (comically uneaten, continually interrupted) traditional Orthodox meal meant to usher their family-head into Heaven, relatives (and oddball invitees) engage in a discomforting airing of grievances and offside opinions ranging from infidelity to 9/11 conspiracy — with plenty of prickly chatter in between. Claustrophobic in setting but expansive in the scope of its wide-ranging, discoursed ideas, the curiously-misspelled (and curiously-titled) Sieranevada is an incisive, complex portrait of mourning on both a personal and societal level.

 

REVIEWS

“It earns respect and a cumulative awe in its intently amused vision of reality ... A commanding and intellectually gratifying piece of work.”

The Telegraph | full review

“Quietly absurd, blackly comic ... A deeply involving, curiously mysterious experience.”

Time Out | full review