102 minutes

The so-called "Romanian new wave" may be fast in risk of becoming a cliché since all its films share a similar set of characteristics: lengthy single takes or tracking shots; naturalistic acting filmed in medium or long shot; gentle, absurdist, wry humour; absence of music; etc. Marian Crisan's debut feature Morgen, produced by The Death of mr. Lazarescu and Aurora director Cristi Puiu's Mandragora outfit, fits all these tropes to a T; but what is astonishing is just how much mileage mr. Crisan, and Romanian filmmakers in general, are still able to get out of them without feeling as if they're flogging it to death. Morgen is a smart look at the problems of immigration in modern Europe, as struggling Romanian farmer Nelu (András Hatházi), living on the border with Hungary, takes in Turkish illegal Behran (Yilmaz Yalcin), trying to reach his family in Germany.
     Initially exploiting him for all he's worth - from accepting the money he'd saved to pay for the trip to making him work for free around the farm - Nelu, who moonlights himself as a security guard at a local supermarket, slowly becomes fond of Behran. Confronted by the callousness of those around him, from his perpetually grudging wife to his money-obsessed brother-in-law, the farmer finds himself taking a stand for a guy who could be himself but for the grace of God.
     As the bemused observation of the blind application of the law that we recognise from other "Romanian new wave" works gives way to a sense of callous, inhumane oppression, Morgen, steadily helmed by mr. Crisan, becomes the most openly political and politically resonant of its compatriots; a film that is Romanian, yes, but talks to all of Europe.

Starring András Hatházi, Yilmaz Yalcin; Elvira Rîmbu, Dorin C. Zachei, Levente Molnar, Razvan Vicoveanu.
     Directed and written by Marian Crisan; produced by Anca Puiu; director of photography (Magyar Filmlaboratorium colour processing, widescreen), Tudor Mircea; production designer, Róbert Kóteles; costume designer, Alexandra Ungureanu; film editor, Tudor Pojoni.
     A Mandragora Movies production, in collaboration with Slot Machine, Katapult Film; with support from the Romanian National Cinematography Centre, Hungarian Motion Picture Public Foundation, TV2, Les Films du Losange. (World sales, Les Films du Losange.)
     Screened: IndieLisboa 2011 official competition advance DVD screener, Lisbon, May 5th 2011. 


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