6th October 2016 8.00pm at Vue West End
7th October 2016 2.15pm at Vue West End
Filmed in real time, Cristi Puiu’s Romanian family comedy/drama is a detailed snapshot into the absurdities of family life and relationships.
Puiu seeks to present an accurate as possible representation of Bucharest through fly-on-the-wall directing and camerawork that gives the sensation that we are not watching a film but eavesdropping on a family dinner. Sieranevada opens with a shot of a snowy Bucharest street corner and Lary’s wife and daughter waiting for Lary to drive round the corner and pick them up to go to a family gathering commemorating the death of Lary’s father. From this point onwards the development of the plot takes place almost entirely in a claustrophobic apartment, crammed with family members awaiting the arrival of the priest and his entourage in order to be able to conduct the ceremony and finally be able to sit and eat. Of course, such plans are not executed accordingly as is to be expected from the format of a comedy/drama centred around death and a conversation about 9/11. The choice of title reflects, perhaps coincidentally but convincingly, the bleak winter depicted in the outdoor shots of greying slush and dirty snow, and the tense relationships within the flat.
Near-constant dialogue between a multitude of characters entering and leaving the small apartment at different times successfully dramatises the claustrophobia and emotional intensity of close family relationships. Sieranevada also delves into the political by focusing on conversations about conspiracy theories, communism, religion and adultery, all seemingly caused by the character’s tense anger at being denied dinner.
At just under three hours in length, Puiu’s work requires a distinct amount of patience to get through the convoluted plot lines that delay the meal by hours. Whilst humour and a certain amount of intriguing family drama punctuate the picture throughout, few relevant revelations are ultimately disclosed suggesting that the point that Sieranevada was driving at could have been reached in half the time
Sieranevada does not have a UK release date yet.
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Read more reviews from the festival here.
Watch a clip from Sieranevada here: