R.M.N. (2022)
August 10, 2023 11:11 AM - Subscribe

Matthias returns to his home village in Transylvania, where his already difficult family-life and love-life clash with the boiling reactionary resentments in the village. Based on the real-life 2020 Ditrău xenophobic incident. The title refers to the technology of an MRI. Directed by Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days).

Rated 7.3 on IMDB. RT has it with 96% critics / 99% audience. (Which is a bit high I think).

ANIMAL CRUELTY: The first five minutes of the movie show a slaughterhouse. Later, a pig is killed just off screen later in the movie. The scenes are not played for intensity.
posted by fleacircus (5 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Mungiu is--no hyperbole-- one of the ten or twelve most brilliant directors in modern drama. I am overdue to see this.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:33 AM on August 10, 2023

Here's what I wrote in another place about this movie.
The film is not especially sympathetic or cruel to anyone, even the bigots. The male lead, Matthias, is a brute but no hero, helpless against social complexity. His ex-gf, the female lead, is liberal, cultured, principled; and she's also capitalism's privileged handmaiden and the film is not shy about showing this. The village is Romanian, Hungarian, German, and there's a French guy there too; apparently they showed it with color-coded subtitles in Cannes, which I wish was available.

The scene everyone talks about w/ this movie is a single-take 20 minute town council where the ugliness spills out. There is no leftist voice in the council at all (but imagine going to rural Eastern Europe to lecture these people about the wonders of Communism lol).

Unfortunately there is not really a resolution; the movie escapes the town council to go back to the individual question of the male lead. The ending is a little bit surreal. I imagine my internalized book club nerd friends pfft-ing and scoffing.

I didn't love this movie, but Mungiu and/or his cinematographer know how to point a camera, and I guess this still hits that kind of spot I love, realistic but not "Dogma 95" self-maiming lo-fi; beautiful without feeling embellished; doesn't hand-hold the viewer but not trying to be 'challenging' or scream 'look at me'.
I guess I'm not really cinema-literate enough to explain what it is. Maybe I have a strong like of "neo realism" or whatever, it's just feels very engaging and accessible to watch. Even when I'm still thinking, "Well, this isn't great."
posted by fleacircus at 1:54 PM on August 10, 2023 [2 favorites]

Mungiu is... a vibe. have you seen 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days? That's probably his very best. (CW, though: it's the most harrowing, sad movie ever made about abortion.)

If that's not bleak enough, also check out Lemonade by Ioana Uricaru, produced by Mungiu. That one is about immigration.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:54 AM on August 11, 2023 [1 favorite]

Oh yes I loved 4M3Wa2D. I saw it around the same time as I saw Where is the Friend's House the Abbas Kiarostami movie, and I loved them both so much I can barely shut up about it. I think of both of them as adventure stories, hero stories, where the protagonist is trying hard to do just one good thing to help someone out and like.. confronts that society is awful and not built on good deeds.

The part in 4M3Wa2D where our heroine goes out to dispose of the dead fetus was so fucking harrowing. (Safdie bros wish they could etc.) The last scenes of RMN are similar in the kind of pushing into a climactic zone of surreal fear. And society is again kind of implacable and bad! Though Matthias is not really a hero... he's a space where a better man should be, or could be but isn't. Society wins this one.

(It reminded me a little of Rust and Bone where you have this broken dude who only knows how to punch things really, and he kinda sucks at navigating life, until finally magically, life serves up a situation where stubborn punching is REALLY REALLY important lol. But there's no redemption for Matthias.)

I'd like to know what other people think is the Mungiu vibe! A kind of detachment and open-ended judgment would seem to be part for me.
posted by fleacircus at 10:06 AM on August 11, 2023

I finally saw this, with Comrade Doll and she only needed about seven seconds when they got to "Ditrău" to correctly identify the shooting location as Torócko (Riemetea).

Actually, I only needed about five seconds longer than that. As soon as they showed the terraced mountain, I knew.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:11 PM on February 9

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