EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|IF I WANT TO WHISTLE, I WHISTLE (EU CAND VREAU SA FLUIER, FLUIER) (director/writer: Florin Serban; screenwriters: Catalin Mitulescu/from the play Eu cand vreau sa fluier, fluier by Andreea Valean; cinematographer: Marius Panduru; editors: Sorin Baican/Catalin Mitulescu; cast: George Pistereanu (Chiscan Silviu), Ada Condeescu (Ana), Clara Voda (Mother), Mihai Constantin (warden), Marian Bratu (Marius, the Brother), Chilibar Papan (Ursu); Runtime: 93; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Catalin and Daniel Mitulescu; Film Movement; 2010-Romania-in Romanian with English subtitles)|
us old news that criminals come
from dysfunctional family backgrounds and bad environments, and makes
it seem as if the filmmaker just got the message and can't wait to tell
world the hot news."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
New Wave Romanian filmmaker Florin Serban's first feature
watchable but thin arthouse
juvenile prison drama that brings us old news that criminals come from
dysfunctional family backgrounds and bad environments, and makes it
seem as if the filmmaker just got the message and can't wait to tell
the world the hot news. It's based on the play Eu cand vreau sa fluier,
fluier by Andreea
Valean and is written by
Catalin Mitulescu. Many of the cast members are actual
inmates, who enact the prison routine with conviction and help give the
low-budget film its realistic look.
Chiscan Silviu (George
actor) is an intense, charismatic and strapping
18-year-old inmate, who after a four-year sentence is two weeks away
from release at a rural juvenile detention center. All he has to do is
keep his nose clean (not that easy in a place where guards are hostile,
the warden (Mihai
Constantin) is a nice man but
not up to speed on the job and the inmates are bullying). A visit by
his younger brother Marius (Marian Bratu) telling him that his uncaring
mom (Clara Voda), who long ago
abandoned the family, has returned and intends to take Marius to Italy
with her, sets Silviu off. Silviu doesn't want his brother's life
ruined like his was by bad parenting, as he had no chance finding his
own way to a regular life under the supervision of his selfish mom. Silviu aims to raise the kid, like he did
before he was jailed.
When unable to go home before
his release date to confront mom and unable to think straight, the
inarticulate volatile Silviu
takes a pretty college student he's attracted to named Ana (Ada Condeescu) hostage
by holding a shard to her neck.
She's a social worker trainee in the prison to do field work prerelease
interviews for her sociology class. Silviu demands the warden call his mother
and to tell her to come to the prison, or else he threatens to kill the
girl and himself. The dangerous youth has already struck her teacher
and knocked the guard unconscious by slamming a chair over his head.
Mom comes and he makes her swear to not take the younger brother with
her (mom has work as a hotel receptionist in Italy, a work opportunity
not available back home). Meanwhile the familiar movie hostage scenario
is played out, as that life threatening action scene raises the level
of tension but takes away from the pic's more successful quiet moments
and its natural rawness. It now leaves us with a pathetic monstrous
antihero we can no longer sympathize with except on a theoretical
basis, and the pic suddenly looks as flat as so many other youth prison
In the end, we observe the
penal system doesn't work and once incarcerated there's very little
hope of the youth's escape or release to a better life.
It was the winner of the best
Romanian film of the Transylvania International Film Festival and also
won the top Silver Bear prize at the Berlin Festival of 2010.
REVIEWED ON 5/25/2011 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ