If you are familiar with Puiu's previous film, Death of Mr. Lazarescu, you will be well-prepared for the slow pace that draws attention to the nonchalant, almost cold and disconnected sensibility of the ex-Eastern Bloc. What you will find extremely different in Aurora is the lack of words in many long scenes. Conversations are sparse, accentuated with grunts or untranslatable sounds. The main character seems to walk around like a ghost, one that everyone can see and can, if they were so inclined, interact with, but also one that nobody seems too interested in or concerned with. Of course, we know that there must be a reason why we are following this seemingly aimless character, and we are peeved at the very beginning by his paranoid over-the-shoulder glances and slow scenes where he seems to be watching a family. About an hour into the film, we know he is up to no good, though still nothing really is explained. We do not really know who most of the people are in his life, and why he is doing what he is doing. The violence also remains unexplained. In the last half hour of the film his actions are finally explained. This time the indifference and Soviet sensibility, the lack of intelligent conversation, the attitudes of the resigned members of the bureaucratic wheel all help to create a highly absurd and funny "confession" scene. Without the last scene, the film would get a 5 from me. It gets a 7 for capturing the sensibility of a whole people, a whole way of reacting to life, so perfectly. It also manages to unravel the complexity of adult lives without ever explaining anything. It would have gotten an 8 or 9, if it was edited tighter, especially the first 2 hours. It was great that things were not explained, but the slow pace could have been helped a bit without losing from meaning.
An apartment kitchen: a man and a woman discuss Little Red Riding Hood, their voices hushed, mindful of waking the little girl sleeping next room. Waste land on the city outskirts: behind a line of abandoned trailers, the man silently watches what seems to be a family. The same city, the same man: driving through traffic with two hand-made firing pins for a hunting rifle. The man is 42 years old, his name - Viorel. Troubled by obscure thoughts, he drives across the city to a destination known only to him.
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September 23, 2019 at 11:42 AM