Top 150 Most Anticipated Foreign Films of 2019: #47. The Passenger – Corneliu Porumboiu
Another New Romanian Wave essential, Corneliu Porumboiu borrows a moniker from Antonioni for his fifth feature, The Passenger (previously known as Gomera). A co-production between Romania (42 KM Film), France (Les Films du Worso) and Germany (Komplizen Film), Porumboiu’s latest finds Marcela Ursu as a producer and a host of notable co-producers, including Maren Ade, Sylvie Pialat, Janine Jackowski and Jonas Dornbach. DP Tudor Mircea (who lensed When Evening Falls on Bucharest or Metabolism, The Treasure, and his 2018 documentary Infinite Football) reunites with Porumboiu for the fourth time. Described as a dramatic thriller, Porumboiu assembles a notable cast, led by popular Romanian actor Vlad Ivanov (who has appeared in famed titles from Mungiu, Ade, Loznitsa, Netzer, etc.), Rodica Lazar, Catrinel Marlon, and famed Catalan director Agusti Villaronga. Porumboiu won the Golden Camera at Cannes for his seminal debut 12:08 East of Bucharest (2006) and also won the Un Certain Regard Prize for 2009’s Police, Adjective. His 2013 title When Evening Falls on Bucharest or Metabolism competed in Locarno, and Porumboiu returned to the UCR in 2015 for his social comedy The Treasure (which also walked away with a prize).
Gist: Porumboiu’s script is a described as a dramatic thriller/neo-noir with a femme fatale and comedic twists as a Romanian policeman is sent to the Spanish island La Gomera where he must first learn the local language as a means to free a Bucharest businessman who has been detained there.
Release Date/Prediction: Filming took place in Romania and the Canary Islands from February through April of 2018. Porumboiu has never premiered out of Berlin, though his post-production period might suggest this as a possibility. Having yet to break into the Cannes competition, Porumboiu’s co-pro might try to court a slot in the 2019 selection, where it could also potentially find him returning to Directors’ Fortnight for the second time or Un Certain Regard for the third time.