Romanian film review: The Laughter and the Pain: All Hands on Deck & Miracle
If you are a fan of French cinema, MyFrenchFilmFestival is taking place until 14 February; you can simply book tickets online and watch recent French-language productions from home. If you would rather catch some in a theatre, you can also check out which title is screening when at Cinema Elvire Popescu in Bucharest.
This week they are showing the delightful comedy À L’abordage/ All Hands on Deck (2020). The wonderfully sunny pic features two hapless friends from the suburbs of Paris who travel to the South of France to follow a girl who left one of them lovestruck after a night of fun.
When they get there (by carsharing with a wonderfully uptight young man “with the face of an altar boy”), everything turns out wildly different than expected, and watching the unlikely trio handle everything from adventurous camping to affectionate meetings is a joy.
Guillaume Brac’s film is also terrifically perceptive of race, class, and his young characters, and despite its lightness, nothing about All Hands on Deck is drawn in easy or broad strokes. You will leave the cinema with a huge grin and a warm heart. This just might also be the more intelligent, warm and vivacious version of the usual Valentine’s Day fare.
On a much more serious note, Bogdan George Apetri’s latest drama has just premiered locally. Miracol/ Miracle, about a young novice at a convent, a terrible crime, and a local policeman who plays hard when he has to, is part of a trilogy kicked off by last year’s thriller Neidentificat/ Unidentified.
But while Unidentified had some great comic relief scenes, Miracle is a much more oppressive experience, but carried by good actors and a polished look. It is very bleak and not very subtle in its criticism of society or (fake) religious piety, but then again there is a lot that is rotten in this film’s world (like in the real one). Apetri is a skilled, confident director, and Miracle is a gripping experience, best seen in a theatre.
By Ioana Moldovan, columnist, email@example.com
(Photo info & credit: still from À L’abordage // MyFrenchFilmFestival)