Director Calin Peter Netzer’s tight morality tale deservedly walked off with both the prestigious Golden Bear and the Fipresci awards at last year’s Berlin Film Festival.
This scornful caution of life in contemporary Romania centres on the ‘Mildred Pierce’-esque bullish matriarch who is unable to suppress her impulses. In the lead role of 'blonde bombshell' Cornelia, Luminiţa Gheorghiu (winner of the European Film Award best actress award) shines bright with often hard edged expressive words and deeds – often at the expense of her family.
Her campaign to keep her son from prison and more importantly perhaps her reputation intact involves both emotional and social manipulation as she delves into the murky waters of power and corruption.
This wonderful film about morale decline is partly a bleak sociological view of Romania and part Oedipal mother-son melodrama – an intense but worthwhile experience.