The Movie Waffler Glasgow Film Festival 2022 Review - BLUE MOON | The Movie Waffler

Glasgow Film Festival 2022 Review - BLUE MOON

blue moon review
A young woman seeks an escape from her overbearing family.

Review by Eric Hillis

Directed by: Alina Grigore

Starring: Ioana Chitu, Mircea Silaghi, Vlad Ivanov, Mircea Postelnicu, Ilinca Neacsu, Emil Mandanac

blue moon poster

Like another recently acclaimed Eastern European drama, the Croatian Murina, Romania's Blue Moon gives us another young woman desperate to escape a scenic backdrop because of the oppression of her family. Here it's 22-year-old Irina (Ioana Chitu), who longs to leave the beautiful mountains of rural Romania for the capital, Bucharest, to be rid of her overbearing family, a cross between the Ewings and the Corleone clan.

blue moon review

As the only family member with a head for numbers, Irina is employed as the accountant for her father's resort and property business. Her old man lives in London however, leaving her under the control of her cousins Sergiu (Mircea Silaghi in the Bobby role) and Liviu (Mircea Postelnicu as the JR of the piece). The latter takes an almost incestuous interest in the love life of Irina's sister Viki (Ilinca Neacsu), and is none too happy with her dating a young man he believes to be Jewish.

One morning Irina wakes from a party with an ominous bloodstain on her bed sheet. She later discovers she spent the night with an older married actor, Tudor (Emil Mandanac), who claims their interaction was consensual. Irina has no memory of the night, but embarks on a relationship with Tudor nonetheless. She's so desperate to get away from her family she'll happily run to the arms of the man who may well have assaulted her.

blue moon review

And when you meet Liviu it's all too clear why Irina wants to get away from this madness. Liviu is a hair trigger personality, snapping into violence at the drop of a hat. There's talk of an incident that occurred between Liviu and Irina when she was seven, and though the details are kept largely ambiguous, it's clear Irina hasn't forgiven him.

If you've ever found yourself stuck on a late night bus behind a drunken, arguing couple, you'll be prepared for how writer/director Alina Grigore spins this story. Chairs are thrown, tables overturned and secrets alluded to in shouting matches, but we're never made fully privy to the backstory of this family. Grigore drops us into an argument and it's up to us to try and figure out what these characters are alluding to. The lack of exposition is admirable, but it can also be a little frustrating as we struggle to keep track of the various subplots.

blue moon review

Chitu is very good, but there's not a whole lot to her character. She's defined by those around her, with Grigore making it all too clear why she needs to leave, but that need to escape seems to be the only thing fuelling her character. I had the same issue with the young protagonist of Murina. Both movies share a similar outlook regarding the prospects of young women in Eastern Europe. But they make the same mistake as many of the films of Ken Loach and his British social realism acolytes in giving us protagonists that exist solely to hammer home a point and rarely feel like they have any real inner lives.

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