Home Arts & Culture Cannes 2022. Special correspondence from Eugenia Vodă: An MRI in an emergency

Cannes 2022. Special correspondence from Eugenia Vodă: An MRI in an emergency


Out of patriotism, but also in memory of the white night 15 years ago, when we discovered, also at Cannes, “432”, which brought to our cinema the first Palme d’Or for feature film, and which launched Cristian Mungiu into international orbit (Sounds bombastic and probably hard for some to digest, but it’s true!).

I will admit from the beginning that “MRI” seemed richer, more robust, more paradoxically tonic-hopeless, “more Mungiu” – than the other two films that have been awarded at Cannes over the years – “After the Hills” (for screenplay) and “Baccalaureate” (for directing). We can assume, from the very beginning, that the lucky star will be present at this edition as well, in one way or another … Be it one, be it another, this “MRI” is an important film for the Romanian world! I don’t remember any other film, after ’89, that would put on the wallpaper such clear and expressive problems as big, as “delicate” of our (sub) conscious collective …

The title, “MRI” (generically written – I don’t see why – “MRI”, with dots between letters, but more than likely, gradually, in all comments the dots will disappear!), Refers to brain MRI at which a son takes to his old father … And the black-and-white image of the brain appears several times on the screen, like the face of an exotic undead or a cryptic message … But, obviously, the title also suggests an MRI of a worlds … Paraphrasing a movie title, one could say: “with the Romanian world on MRI”!

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Maria Drăguş, Macrina Bârlădeanu, Cristian Mungiu, Judith State, Marin Grigore and Orsolya Moldovan PHOTO EPA-EFE

Everything takes place in a village in Transylvania, with Hungarians, Romanians and Germans (a small community, a small church, a priest who hopes to be someone in the future to perpetuate the spirit of the ancestors), a solid civilization, typical of a certain area (impeccable “production design” by Simona Pădureţu), and an image of an impressive pictoriality (due to the talent of the operator, Tudor Vladimir Panduru), a village with a huge mountain next to it, with a ubiquitous forest, with the suggestion of a “Wild Romania” still alive, but also with a selenarian amphitheater, a disused mining operation … In this beautiful (but inhabited) place, a young German, a butcher, returns from Germany (gone to work there, to a slaughterhouse, and returned home untimely, after knocking down a “boss” who made him a lazy gypsy) … He is a handsome, tough, impulsive and contradictory man (played by Marin Grigore, as a “simple” and complicated man at the same time), who returns to a beautiful and totally estranged wife (Macri na Bârlădeanu), to a father who collapsed in his own absence (Andrei Finţi), to a traumatized child who refuses to speak (Marc Blenynesy) and to a girlfriend who is only seemingly vulnerable and fragile (Judith State), who runs a bread factory, whose distinguished owner (Orsolya Moldovan) wants access to European funds and, in the absence of a local workforce, is hiring a number of Sri Lankan workers. Absolutely the whole cast “sounds good”, with a flawless authenticity.

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Probably the beginning of the script (also written by Mungiu, with many nuances, levels and registers, between “cello” and “pig slaughter”, between tragedy and humor) gave him the “diverse fact” that appeared in the newspapers a few years ago, about some locals who have refused to buy bread made by “blacks” and refused to accept them in their community … “Would you accept or not accept” is the theme of the most provocative sequence in the film – the assembly of the community, a multilingual noise in which From the air flies various points of view, from the French NGO who came here to make us the census of bears to the doctor who warns that “the immune response is different” to different breeds … And how it is known that the national specificity is the best way to the universal, this film may be very well understood anywhere in the world. Because wherever there is, there is always the OTHER …

If I were a producer (but I’m not!), I would force Mungiu to come closer to the center and make a political comedy at the top … Especially since we still don’t have such a thing. It would be time.

The “MRI” shows it ready!

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