When I had the opportunity to sit down for an interview with Corneliu Porumboiu, writer and director of the delightful film The Whistlers, it was the first time in my writing career I ever felt I shouldn’t come too heavily prepared with questions. I didn’t want answers from the filmmaker at the vanguard of the Romanian New Wave about his new work. Since The Whistlers is all about dualities, paradoxes and contradictions, what I really wanted was to simply engage in dialogue around all that the film raises. Luckily, Porumboiu indulged my odd request rather than scoffing at it.
Some quick background on this off-kilter crime caper before jumping into our conversation: The Whistlers follows the exploits of Vlad Ivanov’s crooked Romanian police inspector Cristi as he sets off to claim a bounty of drug money in the far-off Canary Islands. In order to get his hands on this coveted prize, he’ll have to learn a coded language of whistles that’s both simple and secretive. Along his winding path, Porumboiu has his protagonist confront any number of deceptive double agents, absurd situations, and self-serious archetypes from movie genres. It’s an uncategorizable delight, and it was an honor to dive deeper into the rich text with the filmmaker himself. Read More »
It’s a crazy, mixed up world and we are thankful for movies, excluding Valentine’s Day starring every safe, boring white actor ever, that offer proof. /Film’s Weekend Weirdness examines such flicks, whether in the form of a new trailer for a provocative indie, a mini review or an interview.
The first half-hour of Police, Adjective features several long takes following an expressionless young detective as he walks and walks Romanian streets in silence, occasionally bending to pick up and examine a roach of hashish recently discarded by high schoolers. Watching the scenes, I began to think about the resilience of the never-ending yet naive affair between indie films and patience, or boredom, that plays out in front of modern audiences. Weeks before seeing this much-praised import, I had estimated, however cynically, that the mere inclusion of Adjective in its title had daisy-cut its potential audience stateside; add in all of this walking and creeping—and we’re talking more than in Ti West’s The House of the Devil—and my imagined demographic for the film outside of the indie faithful became commercially bleak.
But I also sensed in these long takes that writer/director Corneliu Porumboiu was consciously going against-the-grain, staging mundanity in real-time with jestful purpose. I decided to trust the instincts and stay with it. It turned out to be one of the best and more profound films I’ve seen in 2010 thus far.
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