Romania, France, Belgium 2022; 125 min., drama;
If Mungiu’s previous movies were chamber pieces, R.M.N. is a symphony for cello, bears, several nationalities, a quarrelling choir and the musical theme from In the Mood for Love. Even at Cannes, where the film premiered (in the main competition), the 17-minute scene shot in one take, in which 26 people speak, has become legendary. Out of the crowd, the director picks a few characters who serve as guides in this terrifyingly funny, bitter, painfully realistic and, at the same time, offering flashes of metaphysics story about globalization, the crisis in masculinity, complexes and nationalism. The story takes place in a Transylvanian town full of silent prejudices and long-standing resentments, which explode when new workers, immigrants from Sri Lanka, arrive at the local bakery. Xenophobia is the daily bread in a region cohabited by several nationalities, so there’s nothing like a common enemy. This motif is just one of many threads (the other being a love story, a childhood trauma, a comical figure of a French activist, and offended male pride) that ultimately intertwine to create an Eastern European Gordian knot in the middle of which we all find ourselves today, unable to neither cut or nor untie it.