Aurora (12A)


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The Independent Culture

For stretches of Cristi Puiu's morose study of Romanian lonerdom we have little idea where it's going, yet something about its humdrum accumulation of detail keeps us on track.

Puiu plays a metallurgy worker mooching about drab, present-day Bucharest, a reticent man whose eye you wouldn't want to catch – there's an unsettling gleam in it. We understand he has an ex-wife, two young daughters, and a leaky ceiling in his flat.

When he buys a shotgun, and shows every sign of knowing how to use it, the film takes on an ominous mood, even if it refuses to up the pace.

This is less satisfying than The Death of Mr Lazarescu, Puiu's 2005 tragicomedy about Romanian healthcare. That was a long film, but it didn't feel like one.

Aurora clocks in at just over three hours, absorbing in its methodical way while giving no clue to justify its weird glacial movement.