The deserving winner of the Golden Bear at this year's Berlinale, this sharply scripted Romanian feature centers on a characteristically excellent performance by Luminita Gheorghiu as Cornelia, a well-off, middle-aged architect determined to prevent her lazy, disaffected son Barbu going to jail after his reckless driving kills a child. How far will she go to persuade the cops, the judiciary and even those deep in grief that Barbu wasn't speeding?
A splendid blend of psychological realism and social commentary, this acerbic look at the none-too-discreet moral turpitude of the Romanian bourgeoisie grows into a pleasingly ambiguous study of obsessive maternal love; eventually neither we nor the characters can tell if Cornelia's emotional outbursts are sincere, an act or whether she's come to believe her own lies. Savagely witty, surprisingly compassionate and utterly engrossing.
SOHK.TV interviews the director Calin Peter Netzer.
With thanks to the BFI London Film Festival.
In UK cinemas 1st November 2013.