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Aferim Review - AVClub

AVClub: “I wonder, Ionita,” says a father to his son toward the end of Aferim! (The title translates roughly as Bravo!) “A few hundred years from now, do you think folks will say a good word about us?” Since the film is set in 1835, “a few hundred years from now” more or less implies today; we’re clearly meant to reflect upon how the wanton cruelty onscreen—inflicted by the rich and powerful upon the downtrodden—has persisted over the centuries. There’s nothing particularly revelatory about that observation, but Aferim! manages to sustain interest, over the course of a somewhat meandering road movie, by contextualizing it within a novel milieu: Wallachia, a region of Romania that was then part of the Ottoman Empire (under Russian occupation). Shot in widescreen black-and-white on 35mm, the film combines the structure of a classic Western with the look of Eastern European films from the 1960s, to reasonably absorbing effect.

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