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‘Do Not Expect Too Much From the End of the World’ Review: Radu Jude’s Freewheeling Feminist Satire


Of the handful of directors that make up the Romanian New Wave, which began two decades ago and is still going strong, Radu Jude is perhaps the most radical and exuberant, something like the Jacques Rivette or Jacques Rozier of the movement. He has done everything from a coming-of-age comedy (The happiest girl in the world) to a historical western (Aferim!) to a grim period drama (marked hearts) to a contemporary sexual satire (Hitting Bad Luck or Loony Pornwho won the Berlin Golden Bear in 2021).

His last job, the almost three hours Don’t expect too much from the end of the worldit may actually be the most experimental yet, with two parallel narratives: one set in the present day, and the other consisting of found footage from the 1981 film, angela move on (Angela merges mai part), which addresses similar stories of women eking out a living on the streets of Bucharest.

Don’t expect too much from the end of the world

The bottom line

jude the dark

Event: Locarno Film Festival (Competition)
Cast: Ilinca Manolache, Ovidiu Pirsan, Nina Hoss, Dorina Lazar, Katia Pascariu, Uwe Boll
Director, screenwriter: Radu Jude

2 hours 43 minutes

Both characters are named Angela, and both spend a lot of time hanging around town. In the old movie, Angela (Dorina Lazar) is a taxi driver trying to make ends meet under the stifling regime of dictator Nicolae Ceaucescu, and she’s clearly one of the only women in that profession at the time. In the modern story, Angela (Ilinca Manolache, a Jude regular) is a production assistant for a company that specializes in corporate ads and videos, and she works long hours doing what she’s told to do.

Their trajectories are similar, as is the fact that they are fighting under a powerful patriarchy, be it communism in the 1980s or corporations and the orthodox church today. But there’s also a key difference: contemporary Angela is more outspoken, berating her bosses when they push her too hard or making lewd satirical videos under the pseudonym Bobita, using a filter (by Andrew Tate!) to disguise the identity of she.

Jude easily switches between three formats (1981 16mm muted color, high-contrast black and white for the present, and iPhone images for the Bobita videos), offering more of a day-in-the-life chronicle of the two women than any kind of exciting plot. Spectators should not enter Do not expect too much hoping to hook into a story: the film is closer to an immersive experience in which both Angelas emerge as protest figures, refusing to accept a system meant to keep them in place.

The film also provides a meta-commentary on the film itself, referencing Godard and Blowand features cameos from renegade German director Uwe Boll and the actress who starred in the original film angela move on. As a PA, modern Angela is at the bottom of the scale, working as an underpaid casting director for a video about workplace safety, heading to the airport to pick up the Austrian executive (an intimidating Nina Hoss) who arrives to observe the filming. , and trying to nap whenever she can. Her numerous TikTok sketches, which are deliberately rude and confrontational, are the only way she can fight to shake off some power, and she shoots them every time she has a few seconds to spare.

For nearly two hours, Jude alternates between scenes past and present, allowing one to slyly comment on the other in a kind of mirror effect. In the third section of the film, which consists of two long sequential shots from a fixed position, the point of view changes to that of the corporate video, where a worker (Ovidiu Pirsan) who was paralyzed during a freak accident at work ends up turning against him. your company.

Jude and cameraman Marius Panduru stage this and other scenes for maximum tension and absurdity, in situations full of sociopolitical undertones that crop up without warning. One example is a pre-production meeting that Hoss’s character oversees on Zoom as a malevolent goddess, while the Romanians try their best to convince the client of her while mocking her and Austria at the same time. They know they have to please, but that doesn’t mean they have to do it willingly.

As is typical of the director, Do not expect too much it ends inconclusively, offering no easy solutions for its two female leads. We never found out what happened to the old Angela, while the new one keeps doing what she’s doing without making any major headway on TikTok or her shitty job. And yet, the film gradually reveals how both women manage to reject the status quo in Romania, protesting silently or loudly, knowing all the while that they can never really change the system. Like the Bobita videos, Jude’s carefree performance is an act of resistance in itself.

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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