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Malmkrog – Cristi Puiu

Annual Top Films Lists

Top 150 Most Anticipated Foreign Films of 2019: #25. Malmkrog – Cristi Puiu

Top 150 Most Anticipated Foreign Films of 2019: #25. Malmkrog – Cristi Puiu

Malmkrog

As we await the production of Romanian auteur Cristi Puiu’s Hora Staccato (which was announced as a project around the same time Sieranevada went into development and looks to be something we should see in 2020), it appears the director has gone ahead and filmed another project called Malmkrog, which according to the film’s producer Anca Puiu, is filmed mostly in French (with some German, Hungarian, and Russian thrown into the mix). Puiu’s latest is inspired by and freely adapted from philosopher Vladimir Solovyov’s book War, Progress and the End of History: Three Conversations, Including a Short Story of the Anti-Christ. This is the same work which informed his 2013 project Three Exercises of Interpretation, which was a filmed workshop where Puiu did exactly as the title indicates. Puiu is commonly referred to as the Godfather of the Romanian New Wave (which has now unleashed a new generation of filmmakers who have divorced themselves from the earlier aesthetics of Puiu, Mungiu, and Poromboiu), and his 2005 sophomore film The Death of Mr. Lazarescu, a cornerstone of the Wave, which won top honors out of Un Certain Regard at Cannes. Puiu’s 2001 debut Stuff and Dough premiered in the Directors’ Fortnight, while he returned to Un Certain Regard in 2010 with Aurora and competed in the Cannes main competition in 2016 with Sieranevada. The cast of Puiu’s latest includes Frédéric Schulz Richard, Agathe Bosch, Diana Sakalauskaite, Ugo Broussot, Marina Palii, Istvan Teglas, Sorin Dobrin, Judith State, Edith Alibec, Simona Ghița, Zoe Puiu, Levente Nemes, Bogdan Geambașu

Gist: Taken from the same Solovyov text, Puiu’s latest is a period piece set in 1900 and focuses on the three specific dialogues from the book which concern economic materialism, Tolstoian abstract moralism, and Nietzschean hubris. Solovyov’s hypothesis was how mankind’s progress would become its eventual undoing thanks to the simultaneous erosion of resistant to evil. As of Solovyov’s writing, he argued economic materialism had already transpired, while abstract moralism was inevitable, and the Nietzschean hubris would be the prologue for the Antichrist (and therefore, apocalypse).

Release Date/Prediction: Malmkrog seems to have been completed sometime over the past year. The experimental Three Exercises, which is based on the same text, premiered out of Rotterdam in 2013. While, Puiu’s previous four narrative features have all bowed at Cannes, this would seem the logical place he would end up, and especially considering the film is mostly in French. However, we wouldn’t be surprised to see this show up in any number of places, though Berlin might be a decent bet as well (where Puiu won the Golden Bear for Best Short in 2004 with “Cigarettes and Coffee”).

 

Los Angeles based Nicholas Bell is IONCINEMA.com's Chief Film Critic and covers film festivals such as Sundance, Berlin, Cannes and TIFF. He is part of the critic groups on Rotten Tomatoes, The Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA), FIPRESCI, the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS) and GALECA. His top 3 for 2023: The Beast (Bonello) Poor Things (Lanthimos), Master Gardener (Schrader). He was a jury member at the 2019 Cleveland International Film Festival.

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