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Cannes Review: Cristian Mungiu’s ‘R.M.N.’

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Longtime Cannes Film Festival favorite Cristian Mungiu has returned to the competition once again with a potent look at multi-ethnic strains and divides in a small Transylvanian town in R.M.N.

As ever, the writer-director works intimately and close to the ground with his handful of characters who struggle to keep themselves and their barely-getting-by community afloat in changing times.

It’s a kind of close-up-and-personal look at contemporary issues in an area not often dramatized or in the news, which adds to the film’s fresh and urgent feel.Mungiu signals at the outset that things are not right in town through the character of a young boy, Rudi, who has stopped speaking and seems afraid of everything.

Things scarcely improve when the boy’s tough father Matthias (Marin Grigore) returns from working elsewhere, brutishly throws his weight around and making life more difficult for the fearful lad and the latter’s mother, Ana, than it already was.The women in the tiny town would seem to represent its best hope, led by Csilla (Judith State), a resourceful, can-do type who used to be Matthias’ lover.

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