Wednesday 1 May 2024

Do Not Expect Too Much from the End of the World [2023]

 Radu Jude reaffirmed his position as a defiantly radical and daring filmmaker with this dazzling and damning work that combined cutting satire, outrageous humour, dizzying metatextual references, scalding political commentaries, and subversive neo-Marxian dialectics. These, along with its multi-segmental structure and anarchic experimentations, made this a striking follow-up to his fabulous previous film Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn. Angela (Ilinca Manolache) is an underpaid, overworked production assistant who drives around Bucharest auditioning victims of workplace accidents, for a dubious corporate documentary sponsored by an Austrian organization. Filmed in low-fi B/W capturing her gig employment, this strand is frequently intercut with two seemingly dissonant threads – parodic and inflammatory TikTok videos, shot in saturated colours, that Angela makes as a side hustle, using a sleazy, trash talking, misogynistic, neo-Nazi alter-ego called Bobiță; and snippets from the feminist Ceaușescu-era film Angela Moves On, shot in glorious retro colours, featuring a lonely woman taxi driver (Dorina Lazar). They ultimately coalesced into the bleakly funny final segment – a bravura 40-minute single-take static sequence – showing how a wheelchair-bound man is craftily coerced into presenting a false narrative in the said promotional movie, wherein the blame is conveniently shifted from the employer to him, and his agency too is stripped in the process. With references ranging from Goethe and Lumière to Godard and Dylan, this 3-hour epic comprised of deadpan detours – as in a rambling conversation with a corporate exec (Nina Hoss) that segues into a silent tracking shot memorializing vehicular casualties – and dealt with neoliberalism, exploitation, discrimination, media manipulation, cultural toxicity, war, fascism, etc. The film, interestingly, featured self-reflexive cameos by hack director Uwe Boll and Lazar reprising her role from the referenced film.

Director: Radu Jude

Genre: Black Comedy/Social Satire/Political Satire

Language: Romanian/English

Country: Romania

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