99 minutes

What is genuinely astounding in the work that keeps coming out of the so-called Romanian New Wave is the stunningly high average quality of the films – that I have seen, there hasn't been a blunder out of the lot so far, and Radu Muntean's third feature, a devastatingly clear-eyed look at the dissolution of a middle-class marriage, doesn't let down the side. Though shot in the usual long takes without any musical illustration, Tuesday, After Christmas introduces a welcome change of setting – we are now in the affluent urban middle-class where everyone owns iPhones, lives in comfortable flats and drives last-model station-wagons, and the social aspect of many Romanian films is ejected to focus on the personal, emotional side. 

     Mr. Muntean's film follows the run-up to Christmas Eve as the milquetoast bank manager Paul (Mimi Branescu) struggles whether to tell his wife he is in love with someone else and realises belatedly he can't really have it both ways – a slender storyline that is given substance and gravitas by the stunning central trio of performances, with the director training his camera on the actors and letting them run for as long and as fast as they can in a series of complicated real-life situations. Mr. Branescu gives a nuanced portrayal of his unassuming, slightly faded middle-class guy who finds himself stuck between one woman he loves and lives with and another he loves and lusts after, but it's Mirela Oprisor (Mr. Branescu's wife in real life) as his career professional, loving wife that steals the movie with two superb scenes. Tuesday, After Christmas is more solid than inspired, but its unflinching look at the complexity of modern relationships chalks up another success for the home team. 

Starring Mimi Branescu, Mirela Oprisor, Maria Popistasu.
     Directed by Radu Muntean; written by Alexandru Baciu, Mr. Muntean, Razvan Radulescu; director of photography (colour, processing by Magyar Film Laboratorium, widescreen), Tudor Lucaciu; production designer, Sorin Dima; costume designer, Giorgiana Bostan; film editor, Alexandru Radu.
     A Multi Media Est production with support from the Romanian National Centre for Cinema; co-financed by McCann Erickson, Optimedia, Mindshare Media, Next Advertising. (World sales, Films Boutique.)
     Screened: distributor advance DVD screener, Lisbon, October 8th 2011. 


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