Rarely has onscreen adultery seemed so painstakingly observed as it is in Romanian director Radu Muntean's anatomy of an affair Tuesday, After Christmas. Paul, played by Mimi Branescu, is married to Adriana (Mirela Oprisor) and has a daughter (Sasa Paul-Szel). On the surface all seems fine, but behind their backs Paul is having an affair with Raluca (Maria Popistasu), the dentist who looks after his daughter's oral hygiene. Inevitably he arrives at a point of no return and has to decide whether to stay with his wife and daughter (and live a lie) or take up with his paramour. It's a film strong on acting and atmosphere but it's unlikely to stray far from the festivals circuit, which makes its ancillary potential somewhat limited.
Rather than take a broad-brush approach director Muntean boggs us down in the detail of an adulterous affair. There are some similarities with his previous outing Boogie in that the main character is a man having a premature mid-life crisis.
Muntean is interested in the emotional ramifications of taking an affair from clandestine fantasy to practical reality—he's particularly curious about the choices all the players have to make en route. His filmmaking style consists of long takes. While they're demanding on his actors the cast members all emerge with distinction, especially the main couple who are married in real-life. He worked on the assumption that his camera should be an observer rather than a character, which makes it flow with the naturalistic tone of Italian neo-realism.
The film's intense intimacy and acute observation work in its favor but quite enough to sustain us through the longeurs.
This is Muntean's fourth feature that helps to prove that the Romanian New Wave is by no means over.
Distributor: Lorber Films
Cast: Mimi Branescu, Mirela Oprisor, Maria Popistasu, Sasa Paul-Szel, Dragos Bucur, Victor Rebengiuc
Director: Radu Muntean
Screenwriters: Alexandru Baciu, Razvan Radulescu, Radu Muntean
Producer: Dragos Vilcu
Genre: Drama; Romanian-language, subtitled
Running time: 139 min.
Release date: May 25 NY