A short excerpt from the booklet essay by Damon Smith.
Too often in the movies, affairs are either blithely romanticized in the grand European tradition of middlebrow 'passion' films (TheFrench Lieutenant's Woman comes to mind) or used as a teaching
tool to bludgeon audiences into accepting a damning moral perspective on the consequences of extramarital activity (see Little Children, for instance). Life has its own current, though, and the
nature of relationships sometimes follows a pattern that is chaotic and irrational, messy and perturbing, where the boundaries between love and naked contempt (ah, Godard!) are no longer
discernible. Movies from Rossellini's Voyage to Italy (1953) all the way down to Maren Ade's Everyone Else (2009) have portrayed intra-relationship dynamics with emotional honesty and astute insight, leaving us with memorable impressions of love in a state of deterioration, or foundering on the shoals of time. In his fourth feature film, Romanian filmmaker Radu Muntean (Boogie, 2008; The Paper Will Be Blue/ Hîrtia va fi albastrã, 2006) again fastens his attention on the question of intimacy and loneliness, crafting a frank, tightly constructed three-character drama that speaks volumes about marriage, desire, and how we negotiate the varieties of attachment we have to other people.
Tuesday, After Christmas (Marţi, după Crăciun), which premiered at Cannes in 2010, opens on a dreamy scene: sunlight bathes a naked couple, middle-aged Paul (Mimi Brãnescu) and pretty, elfin
Raluca (Maria Popistaşu), who laugh and frolic in bed, teasing each other with an ease and gentleness that underscores their closeness. Minutes pass before we understand that Paul is married, and Raluca, a twenty-something dentist, is his lover. At home, Paul is attentive and affectionate toward his wife Adriana (Mirela Oprişor) and playfully paternal with his school-age daughter Mara (Saşa Paul-Szel), who is about to be fitted with braces. The couple make plans for the holidays; everything appears to be fine on the surface, though we know Paul is experiencing inner turmoil about his divided life that he increasingly finds hard to hide. As with so many Romanian filmmakers today, Muntean allows great
swaths of his story to move forward in real time (one especially tense scene at Raluca's dental practice, captured in a single take, is masterfully acted and photographed), leading inexorably to the
moment when Paul decides to disclose his affair. Yet there isn't a hint of melodrama to be found in Tuesday, After Christmas, only the strangely captivating rhythms of everyday life and an ocean of
pained silences that somehow manage, once that emotion is released, to bring us to a poignant and deeply convincing point of resolution.
Damon Smith’s complete essay and interview with Radu Muntean, from which this excerpt is taken, appears in the booklet which accompanies the DVD release.
A short excerpt from the booklet
Time Out by Dave Calhoun
E Film Blog Michael Ewins
Culture Vulture by Laurence Boyce
London Evening Standard by Steve Morrissey
Cinemas Online by Dave Lancaster
Eye for Film by Jennie Kermode
Cine-Vue by Daniel Green
Digital Fix by Anthony Nield
DVD Beaver by Gary W. Tooze
Arts Desk by Kieron Tyler
Sight & Sound by Michael Brooke
(i) New York Film Festival Interview with Radu Muntean and actors Mimi Brãnescu abd Mirela Oprişor
(ii) The Romanian New Wave
(iii) Electric Brother
(iv) Romanian Cultural Institute London
(v) Radu Muntean interviewed by Carmen Gray at Riverside Studios
(vi) Take the adultery test