Magazine article Screen International

'Eastern Business': Tallinn Review

Magazine article Screen International

'Eastern Business': Tallinn Review

Article excerpt

"Tell him he's in Europe. Just not the good bit." A jaded railway worker is trying to talk the latest stowaway from Mongolia out of a freight car, in this vodka-sodden black comedy set in Moldova. The country is portrayed as a disintegrating wasteland - buildings literally crumble before our eyes - in which everyone is clawing their way through endless levels of corruption to make a few meagre lei.

It's telling that, although the film is set in Moldova, it was filmed in neighbouring Romania. The Moldovan film industry infrastructure is virtually non-existent and Moldovan director Igor Cobileanski, who studied at the Bucharest Academy of Theatre and Film in Romania, had to relocate the production in order to get it made.

This is an odd-couple road movie which follows the misadventures of Marian (Constantin Puscasu) a romantic musician who sings in a provincial choir, and the more worldly-wise and opportunistic Petro (Ion Sapdaru). Since the comedy is largely dependent on local familiarity, and Cobileanski's acute ear for regional dialogue, this is perhaps not the kind of picture which travels well. Outside of its domestic market, it would probably play best as part of a speciality festival or showcase of new voices from Romania and the surrounding regions.

The tone is abrasively cynical; the message is that nice guys like the inoffensive Marian will invariably finish last. We first meet Marion when he sells a disreputable-looking moped in an attempt to raise the money for a business venture and is beaten down on the price to just 3500 lei. …

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