Florin Serban / Romania/Sweden/Germany / 2010 / 94mins
As news of a further 7% funding cut (in addition to 2011’s 20%) to youth offending teams is announced, Florin Serban’s unassuming and contemplative character study of Silviu (George Pistereanu) seems increasingly relevant. Imprisoned in a drab and haggard young offenders institute, Silviu is soon to be released, however, his mother’s unexpected decision to move away with his little brother interrupts the release process.
The unsettling allure of rural Romania’s desolate sparseness, an ominous presence which forever looms in the background, artfully mirrors the desperate nature of Silviu’s situation. The narrative’s simplicity allows for an in-depth examination into the psychological conditions of Silviu, an everyman who symbolises many thousands like him. It’s Serban’s interest in the human psyche that’s most compelling, propelled by his MA in Philosophy of Culture and Hermeneutics. Unfortunately with other aspects (the mother’s back-story, Silviu’s fraternal relationship and the reason for his incarceration), there could have been more juice squeezed from the relatively short script. Only Serban’s second feature, it suffers from a lack of experience and feels slightly underdeveloped, despite the captivating nature of the plot. Forgiving the rough-around-the-edges impression though, Serban’s intelligent understanding of psychology and talent for aesthetically engrossing drama suggests his future will hold a long and distinguished career.
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