Sex, Romanian Style: Our Review of ‘When Evening Falls on Bucharest or Metabolism’ on OVID

Posted in What's Streaming? by - May 22, 2024
Sex, Romanian Style: Our Review of ‘When Evening Falls on Bucharest or Metabolism’ on OVID

Scenes in Corneliu Proumboiu’s When Evening Falls on Bucharest or Metabolism are static, making it an acquired taste. But as these things go, there’s a lot of powerful tension even within the camera and its’ characters stillness. A director, Paul (Bogdan Dumitrache), talks to his leading lady, Alina (Diana Avramut), about the project they’re filming. He’s murky on the details, but he’s sure that she has to appear nude in a ‘crucial’ scene. What she doesn’t know is that he’s only rewriting the film to start an illicit affair with her. There’s another twist in this film in that he’s playing hooky for this which may lead to unintended consequences.

But let’s go back to Paul and Alina’s rehearsals, where he tries to give answers that are nonsense. The smart thing for her to do is to realise his intentions and walk away from this project. But she’s ‘falling’ for his answers and making his ‘intentions’ less vague, which can lead to two interpretations. The first is that this is a commentary on all fiction, the ‘willing’ addition to suspending one’s disbelief. The other is that she knows his intentions and that what’s happening is her interrogating him without him knowing. When Evening Falls on Bucharest or Metabolism, then, becomes a subtler deconstruction of why men create sexual art.

When Evening Falls on Bucharest or Metabolism also touches on how artists insist on things about their medium. Earlier in the film, Paul mourns the idea of cinema moving away from actual film, missing its limitations. Because of digital storage, scenes now can last longer than 11 minutes, which is what some scenes here feel like. The other limitation directors will always have is finances, which gets complex here because of Paul’s rash decision. His producer, Madga (Mihaela Sirbu), reminds him of this, a conversation where the film blocks both characters closer. I find it interesting that they’re physically closer than him with Alina as well as his physical flexibility here.

There are some contrasts in When Evening Falls although his relationships with both women have, duh, some similarities. I have yet to read a piece about this film by a female critic which is another conversation. I bring this up because I’m not sure if the power these female characters have is ‘real power’. Nonetheless, just like Alina, I’m suspending disbelief even if both she and I have our limits in tolerating Paul. In a scene, he tells her that she looks like Monica Vitti, a classic actress unknown to her. On the one hand, everyone should know Vitti, but I also respect how she’s calling him a nerd.

OVID is the only platform to stream When Evening Falls on Bucharest or Metabolism in Canada.

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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watches movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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