Otilia interrogates our gaze at the end of the film

This film succeeds on a number oflevels: as a portrayal of Romania in 1987; as a shocking, and gripping, narrative; as an exercise in directorial style (the camera is often static and not necessarily positioned in the ‘best’ place). The focuses on how Otilia deals with her frustrating friend and her loving boyfriend; they, however, fail to take full responsibility for their actions and she has to carry them.

The directorial style reminded me of Miklos Jansco’s (The Red and White) where the camera’s unwavering gaze ‘misses’ some of the action as it goes off screen. This technique draws attention to our voyeurism; as does the film’s final shot – see image above. It’s interesting that such an uncompromising film should attract such accolades from imdb audiences; a sign of arthouse cinema’s health. This won last year’s Palme d’Or.