Following up the critically lauded (and multiple award-winning) The Death of Mr Lazarescu, Cristi Puiu once again takes the writing and directing duties on Aurora.
Aurora is an interesting take on a man whose psyche is coming apart at the seams. At first he appears to be a normal person, but as the film progresses he murders a number of people in some way related to his ex-wife.
Weighing in at just over three hours and continuing the Romanian penchant for crushingly bleak realism, Aurora is a tough watch. The mixture of naturalistic dialogue, understated acting and long, lingering shots give the piece a sense of believability. The action in the film is heightened by the fact that it feels that one is almost walking along with the characters, observing the action. The use of Deconstructionist framing techniques is interestingly employed with Puiu, who acts as the protagonist, consistently shot in doorways or behind windows.
The crux of whether or not you will enjoy Aurora is the pacing and the manner in which the film unfolds. For large periods of the film, little is known about the motivations of the protagonist. As the film builds inexorably to its conclusion, you are left questioning who the victims are and why they are targeted. The story unwinds almost painfully slowly until finally all is revealed in what might seem a little like a cop out.
Aurora is a bold and accomplished film. The issue is whether you want to spend three hours appreciating a film while not really enjoying. Puiu cannot be faulted for this film, but at the same time, it feels like hard work.
Aurora will be released in selected cinemas on 9th November.
Watch the trailer for Aurora here