Well, Romania has been experiencing a movie renaissance in the last decade. What has become known as, “The Romanian New Wave” plays freely with dark humor and social criticism. Our next film, TUESDAY AFTER CHRISTMAS is no exception. It’s about Paul and Adriana, an upper-middle-class married couple with a young daughter. The actors Mimi Branescu and Mirela Oprishor are married in real life, and that gives additional reality to the mundane interactions of their characters.
Their life may seem comfortable, but Paul has been cheating on Adriana with their daughter’s dentist, Raluca.
The thing is that Paul loves both Raluca and Adriana. Raluca knows Paul is married. Eventually, he’s going to be forced to tell his wife about his mistress.
TUESDAY AFTER CHRISTMAS doesn’t take sides. Instead, it’s all about watching how these three characters navigate a situation that has no right answers. The director, Radu Muntean, constructs scenes out of unbroken takes that are at least a few minutes long. That helps build not only the tension—and it gets very tense—but also the reality of these relationships. This movie is emotionally complex, it's completely unpredictable, and I can’t think of a film I’ve seen this year that had three lead performances that felt more like real people than this one.
I would give it a thumbs up, too, and I’m surprised to find myself saying that. Because I think the first hour of it is a bit of a slog. That includes the seven minute take at the very beginning where Paul and Raluca are extremely naked and very vulnerable as, kind of riveting to spy on them. But so much of it is kind of mundane. Going to the dentist office to find out about her braces or whatever, but you find that cumultively, the effect sucks you in to the everyday reality of their lives. So when the big bombshell comes, and it hits about an hour in, it’s just devastating, and that’s a long take, too. And that’s like, “Oh my God, what are they going to say next?” I was riveted.
It really does help build the reality of it. It helps you understand the implications of, you know, the decision that they ultimately come to. Because, you become so familiar with what these people’s lives really are like and what their relationships are like; not just on a basic, you know, plot level but just on what the rhythms of their interactions are like and how they shop together, you know, and how they sit around and have dinner together.
Right, and there’s no judging on anybody here. Both women are very lovely and interesting in different ways. It’s not like one is a shrew and the other is awesome and young and beautiful.
There are no villains here.
No, not all. And there’s a little girl whose life is at stake here, too, and that’s not played in any kind of heavy handed ways, and yeah, it was a surprisingly kind of lovely surprise. I liked it.