FNC: A Month in Thailand

A Romanian entry in the all-night-party film genre screens this afternoon at the Festival du nouveau cinéma.

The Romanian cinema that’s been making waves on this side of the Atlantic in recent years has mostly been of the deadpan black comedy or punishingly bleak drama varieties. What A Month in Thailand proves is that Romania is fully capable to deal with that most American of indie genres: the into-the-night, dissatisfied-young-adults-with-dysfunctional-relationships dramedy (think Medicine for Melancholy with a few dollops of immature-dude moping). Swap Brooklyn for Bucharest and dance-punk for dance-dance and you’re halfway there.

Radu (Andrei Mateiu) and Adina (Ioana Anastasia Anton) are celebrating their nine-month anniversary on New Year’s Eve. Adina believes they have a terrific relationship, but after Radu thinks he spots his ex-girlfriend Nadia (Sinziana Nicola) at the supermarket, his own attitude changes radically. At supper that night, he tells Adina that he sees little point in staying together, dumps her and immediately sets forth trying to find Nadia amidst the loft parties, cab rides and rooftop philosophizing that New Year’s Eve entails.

While the form of A Month in Thailand (the title refers to a trip Radu and Adina are planning before their relationship goes south) holds few surprises, the specifics are solid. It’s well-acted and realistic, and director Paul Negoescu captures the repetitive monotony of party-hopping better than practically any film I’ve seen. The film’s pared-down visual style and quirk-free dialogue work in its favour, but it ultimately fails to build enough of the momentum inherent to this kind of contained-time film.

I’m a sucker for the all-night-party film (I even liked Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist in all of its painfully twee glory) but the stakes are so vague, and the focus so squarely on a character who’s not even sure how he feels about most anything, that it becomes tedious before long. Negoescu is clearly a talented director, and A Month In Thailand is not a bad movie; it’s a solidly unspectacular debut that’s well-observed but ultimately pretty low-impact. ■


A Month in Thailand screens at the Festival du nouveau cinéma Wednesday, Oct. 17 at Excentris (3536 St-Laurent), 12:50 p.m.

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