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1.14 GB
Romanian 2.0
24 fps
2 hr 7 min
P/S 21 / 72
2.35 GB
Romanian 5.1
24 fps
2 hr 7 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by mariusgsc7 / 10

A brilliant insight into Romania's xenophobia problem

Cristian Mungiu is undoubtedly the best Romanian director working nowadays. He got famous for winning the Palme d'Or in 2007 for his masterpiece "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days", but hasn't stopped making great films afterwards. "R. M. N." (Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Romanian) is no exception - a gripping social thriller which explores the melting point of socioeconomic forces and simple human emotions.

I had the enorme chance of attending a screening with Cristian Mungiu attending himself. Unlike other directors, he took more than one hour afterwards to discuss the film with the audience, not hesitating to even answer difficult questions in detail. R. M. N. Is a great film, but not an easy one as it's on purpose not filmed how an American film would be filmed (that's what Mungiu said himself) - so I was extremely happy that he explained a lot of the film, it turned out to be one of the most interesting discussions I've ever attended.

Although the film is slow, and at first difficult to access, it's worth sitting through, as Mungiu rewards audiences with an extraordinary showdown in form of a debate in a 17-minute single shot - one of the greatest scenes of the year. The event is based on a a real event of xenophobia and hate which left its mark on Romanian society a few years ago.

The film starts by introducing its protagonist, a monosyllabic man named Matthias who returns home after violently attacking the manager of the German slaughterhouse he works in. Once back in his Romanian village, more conflicts await him, as he's met by a distant wife, an emotionally damaged child and a lover who is quite the opposite of him - she turns out to be the hero of the film, the character we identify ourselves with. When I asked Mungiu why he chose to make an unsympathetic and brutal character as his protagonist, he explained that he didn't want to choose an American approach, that the audience always has to understand, like or identify with the main character. Furthermore, the contrast between the regressive and closed Matthias and the liberal Csilla is meant to portray the inner struggle of every human, the struggle between rational choices and animalistic instincts.

This conflict - inside every human, but equally for the village's inhabitants as well as the two very different lovers - gets serious when the xenophobic event takes place in the village. Without ever accusing an entire group of people, Mungiu shows how every single one is responsible individually and how ideologies clash when communities neglected in the process of globalisation face the antagonistic effects of a market without borders.

Although not a film for the masses, R. M. N. Is once again a very rewarding achievement by the Romanian director, who regularly gives us brilliant insights into an interesting country we watch not enough films from. But as he said himself, has no aspirations to make an English-language film, as long as he still lives in Romania.

Reviewed by tributarystu7 / 10

A Cold Winter's Day

It's been half a decade since Cristian Mungiu's previous film, the excellent Bacalaureat/Graduation, and there's a bit of its thematic DNA in his most recent work. The movie goes beyond that though by exploring a real event which left its mark on Romanian society a few years ago, an event littered with prejudice and xenophobia. R. M. N. Is a bit messy and concludes in an unsatisfying fashion, but rewards the viewer with a layered experience.

From the get-go, there's a coldness to R. M. N. (Romanian abbreviation for Magnetic Resonance Imaging) that you can't shake - it's visual, it's seasonal and it's in the lead character, a monosyllabic bear of a man named Matthias. After an incident occurs while working abroad, he returns home, where more coldness awaits him, as he's met by a distant wife, an emotionally stifled child and a circumspect lover. His home village, set between mountains and forests, stands out by being multiethnic - predominantly Hungarians and Romanians, but also some Germans, like Matthias. The interaction between Mungiu's characters is fascinating to watch, as they transition seamlessly between languages, portraying a well-knit, burgeoning community. It is only after a couple of Sri-Lankan workers arrive to work at the local bakery that the the xenophobe's nest starts stirring.

The movie has a strong build-up, creating a tense atmosphere while setting all its pieces in place. Its characters are faced with more agency than one usual sees, working the underlying beliefs and attitudes onto the screen. And when things turn, they turn quickly and viscously, yet almost unexpectedly - feeding on a sense of unexpressed resentfulness, a feeling primed by our lead's emotional literacy. Similarly to another recent Romanian movie themed around prejudices, Radu Jude's Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn, R. M. N. Climaxes at a town meeting, where all the paper-thin-arguments you're friendly Facebook neighbour would have shared are laid bare.

To me, this is where the movie wavers. Even as Mungiu tries to maintain a less than judgmental distance from its subjects, there's something so banal and un-cinematic about this kind of stand-off, that it simply cannot carry the burden imposed by the narrative arc. The scene works in spite of this, it works because of the little details and the (un)expected escalation, but it's not a worthy pay-off to what preceded it. And the conclusion that follows it even less so, being close to the absurd in spite of striving for symbolism.

Still, R. M. N. Shouldn't leave you unimpressed. It tackles big themes with passionate interest and concern, which makes up for any shortcomings, thereby proving a worthy addition to Mungiu's impressive catalogue of films.

Reviewed by dromasca8 / 10

our society is the patient

Cristian Mungiu does not belong to the category of prolific filmmakers. 'R. M. N.' it is released six years after his previous film and ten years after the one before it. However, each of his films is an event, both from a cinematic point of view and as a critical, frontal and bare-knuckle approach to the complex problems of Romanian society (and not only Romanian, I think, in the case of this film). 'R. M. N.', which was released in 2022 at the Cannes Film Festival' is set during the winter holidays at the end of 2019. We won't be seeing it in seasonal programming around Christmas and New Year anytime soon, though. Far from any festival feeling, this film is, as the title indicates, an radiography of a sick organism - today's Romanian and European society.

Cristian Mungiu employs in 'R. M. N.' a narrative technique that he has already used in several of his previous films. He grafts an individual story over the complex realities of the place and time in which the story takes place. His characters face difficulties and threats that originate in the system in which they are forced to live. As in his other films, here too, Mungiu approaches the story with apparent objectivity and lets his viewers extrapolate, zoom out to draw their own conclusions about the roots of the characters' (sometimes tragic) failures.

The script follows two narrative threads in parallel. Matthias, the lead hero of the film, returns to his village in the Harghita district of Transylvania around the holidays, as do many of the millions of Romanian citizens working in Europe. The majority of the population in the village is of Hungarian ethnicity, but Romanian and German minorities coexist conveniently, even if not harmoniously. It's a melting pot in which the ingredients are not perfectly mixed, tensions exist and flare up from time to time, but without the pot exploding. An outbreak of tension arises when the owner of the factory together with her main manager decide to hire foreign workers, from Sri Lanka, as bakers in the bread factory which is the main industry of the town (after a nearby mining operation had been closed for environmental reasons). Here, in the heart of multi-ethnic Transylvania, in an area that seemed to have overcome its own national and confessional conflicts, outsiders who look different are not seen well from the start, and will soon become unwanted. Repressed internal tensions are channeled against them.

This narrative thread that condemns (even if not explicitly) xenophobia and prejudice is developed in parallel with the complications of Matthias's personal life. His wife, Ana, receives him coldly, quite justified because Matthias had and may still have an extra-marital relationship with Csilla, the manager of the bread factory. Their son, Rudy, had been traumatized at the age of eight by a mysterious encounter with something terrifying in the forest surrounding the village on his way to school. The father will try to free the boy from the trauma by imposing a macho style of education. Matthias and Ana are separated rather than united by their affection for the child. For their part, Matthias and Csilla are divided over how the labor conflict with the foreign workers is handled. But this is not just a political non-agreement, the differences between them have deeper roots. Csilla is involved socially and politically, she is an activist for modernization and progress, but in fact she may only serve the interests of a rapacious capitalism, the kind that dominates the Eastern European economies in the post-communist period. For Matthias the political aspect is irrelevant, although he worked and lived for several years in the west. The rejection of the new and the different is an instinctive reaction along the lines of a traditionalism that sees in these phenomena demonic threats, not too different from those of the beasts in the woods around the village.

The description of the ethnic conflict seemed to me to be more interesting and better outlined. The recourse to traditional legends risks being lost in translation for foreign viewers unfamiliar with the ballad of 'Miorita' or with the Dance of the Bears. The connection between Matthias and Csilla, a man and a woman so different in temperament and conceptions, lacks sufficient emotional justification. However, Cristian Mungiu, as usual in his films, charms with some subtle and expressive cinematic methods and inventions. The film is spoken in Romanian, Hungarian, German, French and English, and to differentiate the dialogues for viewers who do not know all these languages, Mungiu subtitles with different colors. The use of the one shot technique for each scene gives the audience the feeling of involvement, of direct witnessing what is happening on the screen. The actors are excellently chosen. Some of them are professionals (Marin Grigore, Judith State, Andrei Finti),others are amateurs, all are perfectly integrated. The cinematography created by Tudor Vladimir Panduru transfers from the screen to the hall not only the characters and their actions, but also the frozen air and the angular shapes of the place where the story develops. Two scenes caught my attention. One is the key scene towards the end that much was written and talked about, a classic scene for Mungiu, in which the village assembly discusses whether to expel the foreigners. It seems like a sarcastic or perhaps desperate comment on the consequences of democracy planted without roots in the age of fake news and Internet manipulation. Another scene, earlier in the film, the one in which the school pupils perform the Romanian ballad 'Miorita' on stage in Hungarian during the holidays, says - with subtle humor - more about what is happening today in many Transylvanian villages than hundreds of books or newspaper articles.

'R. M. N.' also has an allegorical and intentionally cryptic ending that has left many viewers and commentators puzzled. I will not add my commentary and interpretation. I think that Mungiu intentionally designed this kind of ending to keep us thinking and discussing the film long after the screening is over. He leaves each of the viewers to draw their own conclusions related to this film that addresses a list of complex phenomena with a deep impact on the lives of Romanians and Europeans today: economic migrations, globalization, ecological dangers, xenophobia, prejudices, ethnic and religious tensions and relationships between individuals who try and do not always succeed in crossing the barriers, the conflict between tradition and modernism. Seems like too much for one movie, I'd say. It's just one of the reasons why I wish Mungiu would make films more often.

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