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TRANSILVANIA 2024

Crítica: Rusalka

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- El documentalista rumano Claudiu Mitcu presenta su primera cinta de ficción, sobre un grupo de veteranos amigos que lidian con reflexiones existenciales durante unas vacaciones en la costa

Crítica: Rusalka

Este artículo está disponible en inglés.

After the international glory of the Romanian New Wave, local directors seem to find it difficult to emancipate themselves from the anxiety-inducing shadow of the big names before them. Some resort to pale imitations of the emblematic minimalist style of the movement, while others seek refuge in genre constraints to avoid possible comparisons.

Claudiu Mitcu seems to have found a middle path for his feature debut Rusalka [+lee también:
entrevista: Claudiu Mitcu
ficha de la película
]
, which just celebrated its world premiere within the Romanian Days sidebar of the Transilvania International Film Festival. On one hand, Rusalka relies on extensive dialogues and contemplative sequences as in some of Cristi Puiu’s moral tales with social drama elements. On the other hand, when it comes to everyday reality, it is an explicitly escapist film, secluding its characters in a somewhat deserted location in a foreign country. The setting itself—a former exclusive resort on the Bulgarian seaside coast, designed for French tourists and communist party officials back in the day—is actually a formative component of the film’s overall nostalgic mood and dreamy imagery.

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The very loose narrative gradually introduces the characters, who slowly get profiled through their complaints and peculiar habits. One does not have much time left, and another obsessively records mundane details of his life day after day in a desperate attempt to leave a mark. Most of the time, they all behave as if on the Titanic: while the ship’s hold is already flooded, the orchestra on the deck still plays for the first-class passengers, who keep raising champagne toasts in the hope of ignoring the sinking of their private lives. For a moment, they are invigorated by the appearance of a small girl, sent alone by her parents from war-torn Ukraine to avoid a ridiculous death by an accidental stray bullet, it seems. The youthful energy around is always refreshing, but only temporarily so.

The dialogue sounds rather randomly scripted—apart from the general despondency and sadness that seep into their discussions, the themes addressed in the idle conversations are not particularly appealing. Lines such as “Everything vanishes and is replaced by merely nothing” and “Money to solve any problem you might have in your life and then come back and live some more nothingness” sound insightful but remain throwaways in the absence of a solid idea. Both characters and viewers find themselves immersed in an atmosphere of general exhaustion that even Maia Morgenstern’s classy presence is not capable of dispersing.

With the poster and certain frames featuring ageing bodies in a swimming pool, some primal associations with Paolo Sorrentino’s Youth [+lee también:
crítica
tráiler
entrevista: Paolo Sorrentino
ficha de la película
]
could be made. Meanwhile, the overall context of bored rich people spending a seaside holiday in a luxury bubble about to collapse, pampered by a blonde omnipresent housekeeper in a white uniform, might also be vague references to Ruben Östlund’s Triangle of Sadness [+lee también:
crítica
tráiler
entrevista: Ruben Östlund
entrevista: Ruben Östlund
ficha de la película
]
. However, Rusalka does not dare to suggest any cinematic provocation that would make us remember for a long time its fading characters, embittered but resigned to their impending end, disappointed with themselves, and accepting that they would leave no lasting trace behind. 

Rusalka was produced by Romania’s Wearebasca.

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(Traducción del inglés)

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