Arts & Culture Film, Theatre & TV


  • April 4, 2024
  • 4 min read

Review by Henry Scott Irvine

A monochrome in-car side-on-shot sees a blonde twenty-something, Angela, continually driving through chaotic metropolitan traffic, while yelling swathes of abuse at road raging Bucharest drivers. They holler back in a tirade of verbal sexism. All risky real-life film making, serving to heighten the authentic narrative.

Black & White documentary naturalism is fused with ad-libbed witty Romanian dialogue. All here on a roller coaster journey. One which continually cuts back to true life tales of tragedy. Testimonials from disabled people, talking about their own compromised situations that are imparted to the documentary ‘casting’ intern Angela. This is all shot in scenes set against city traffic jams on routes to endless destinations. Undertaken in Angela’s capacity as the ‘fixer’ for a ‘fictional’ corporate documentary. Her tasked role is that of searching out ‘appropriate’ disabled people. Those who have suffered fateful accidents in the workplace. Poor people who’ll consent to appearing in a corporate film for a ‘take it or leave it’ one-off small fee. Meanwhile, egomaniacal filmmakers plan and pre-produce their client’s Health & Safety film set in ‘former communist’ Romania, while vibrant music punctuates adrenaline fuelled car journeys throughout.

The movie is groundbreaking. Not least via a clever usage of Tik Tok technology, which initially threw me. Especially when a man called Bobita interrupts the monochrome film by suddenly appearing in Day-Glo colour via Angela’s mobile. He is a sharp tongued pornographer. One who bears an uncanny facial resemblance to Andrew Tate, who recently served time under Romanian house arrest. Bobita, however, is an anonymous AI generated fictional ‘Phone App’. A misogynistic fictional alter ego that Angela has created to hide behind. All in order to help her make mischief, or to simply release her inner angst, while maintaining her anonymity.

These Tik Tok memes occur in outrageous fictional rants. Many are hilarious. Here, however, there is a fine dividing line between what is the actual storyline as the director intended, and what could be deemed to be a potentially flawed aspect of the movie. This see’s the film’s director, Radu Jude, treading a path that leaves you wondering, sometimes, what was meant? Not least via Angela’s concluding Tik Tok rant on Putin. Irony? Or her truth? I’ll go with her particular penchant for outrageous sarcasm, while letting off steam.

A telling line earlier in the film sees someone asking Angela if she is still “making Porn” in her spare time? Angela replies, “Oh, it’s just a bit of fun!” Clearly paying reference to her Bobita memes. Miss this crucial point and you’ll be missing a key aspect of the film. Angela-as-Bobita appears to meme about whatever she wants. This is mainly at odds with her real life persona. One such scene shows a meme being made with Angela-as-Bobita, aided by a big-time filmmaker. Both tell the entire world to “Fuck-off!”

Plot Spoiler. Look Away If Worried?

The final scene is a locked-off shot of some eighteen minutes. It reveals the betrayal of the documentary filmmakers towards their disabled cast. For anyone who has ever been involved in documentary filmmaking – or, for those who take an interest in the process – this is not only a revelation, but a glimpse into acts of compromised treachery. The documentary filmmakers betray all that is decent and ‘honest’ in spite of ‘release form agreements’. This closer nails their final act of corporate treachery to a cross. Bang!

For some in the audience, however, the last scene might’ve required an extra leap of faith? A few left the Cinema shouting-out, “Taxi!” Nevertheless, Jean Luc Godard would’ve wholly approved. This closing scene is a pure homage to his style of filmmaking. It’s exactly what it must’ve been like witnessing Godard’s Le Mépris or Nic Roeg & Donald Cammell’s Performance on the actual day that they were originally screened. Hearing the audience at The Prince Charles Cinema was a joy. They whooped and cheered-on Angela. Clearly loving this style of raw ‘fuck you’ filmmaking.

Without a shadow of a doubt, this is a benchmark in the history of modern Cinema. Catch the film online via Mubi, but only if you missed it at the cinema! A five star film from Director Radu Jude and his exemplary cast, who are namely, Ilinca Manolache, Nina Hoss, Uwe Boll, László Miske, and Dorina Lazar. View the Trailer here:

About Author

Henry Scott Irvine

The published author of Procol Harum's hardback Omnibus Press biography, Henry Scott-Irvine's writing began in the script departments of the British film industry. He continued as a Film & TV 'Music & Arts' researcher. He has a long background in published journalism. A radio producer-presenter since 2009 as well as a producer of the award winning documentary film Tales From Tin Pan Alley. He's a successful campaigner for securing listings and preservation for London's music & film heritage sites.

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