Moromeții 2

January 27, 2022 by Lucian Mogosanu

I haven't watched the original piece in a long while, nor do I believe I will review it anytime soon. But instead I grew curious of this sequel after the initial cinematographic propaganda faded away, mostly because it did and also because the same Stere Gulea who directed the first movie also decided to work on this one. My decision was also largely helped by the fact that Marin Preda's book also comprises two volumes and by the fact that the role of Moromete The Old is now played by Mălăele in the place of Rebengiuc1.

The thick substance of this second instance of Stere Gulea's Moromeții adaptations, inspired, no doubt, by Marin Preda's own writing, lies in the bare fact that communism and its adherents laid waste to... what, exactly? To Romanian Christianity? no, that one's alive and well, as good or as bad as you'd have it. To Romanian monarchy? let us not kid ourselves, King Priapus had already done as much harm to that institution as he could, aided no doubt by the war itself, so that whatever little royalty was left to represent it had no chance whatsoever. So to what did exactly did "it" lay waste to?

Well, the local communist shitheads destroyed, first and foremost, a way of life that had been there for centuries. The southern Wallachian rural house, with its families far from from perfect, with its cows, its horses and a piece of land that provided food for all involved, that whole thing simply went away, to be replaced by a new rule, a new way of life, a Great Reset, if you will. And the details of this reset are so finely represented by Stere Gulea: just like you and I, of the '88 generation, grew up with Cartoon Network, Facebook and whatever the fuck, so did Niculae Moromete grow up with Marx and Lenin's propaganda; thus, no longer was the old religion needed when the Party would just as well come up with a new one, even if entirely substanceless -- substance wasn't the point, novelty was, just like my parents (folks in their thirties in the early '90s) would be lured by the packaging, only if just a little.

Moreover, the point, as usual, isn't even that peasants who didn't know any better but to stick to the new (tm), improved (r) communist talk did "good" or "evil" deeds. Deeds were what they were and they led where they did; much like Catrina's decerebrated traditionalist bigotism was entirely ill-equipped to deal with what came, whichever way you'd like to spin it. The point isn't even that communists' attempt to literacy probably did as much, if not more harm than good, as history stands witness before us. The point, as small as it lies, lies in Moromete The Old's observation of the ol' marketing and its pointlessness, wherein he asks the new communist if he thinks anything good'll come out of this. This deep observation, that despite all the pretense the whole ordeal would in fact lead nowhere in particular, that it would all be a massive waste of precious resources (among them the most precious, i.e. time) and that it will just keep repeating itself, this is the great sorrow that oughta make you weep, my dear reader. Sure, maybe it's not that great a tragedy, watching humankind systematically laying waste to itself, since there's always a new starting point awaiting from there -- but regardless, let us give the dead a proper mourning, for at least some of them deserve it.

As far as the artsy-fartsy goes, I for one cannot really grasp the whole black-and-white-retro thing that they also employed in Aferim, but whatever. As far as the actors go, I for one loved Mălăele -- but maybe I just have a thing for his acting, and for the record, I don't like his son at all -- as well as Cuzin Toma -- his great achievement is quite doubtlessly his role in MediaPro's Las Fierbinți and most of his movie appearances, including Aferim, are only mere transpositions of this "idiot good-willing peasant" archetype on the screens -- while I didn't much like the younger generation, up to and including the Niculae done by Iosif Pastina. But he's young and he has at least a decade to make it as an actor, and we here at The Tar Pit wish him all the good fortune. As for the old, I for one think Pleșu is entirely out of place wherever they put him.

I also didn't quite get why Gulea stuffed tiny pieces of Preda's Viața ca o pradă into this one, as it sorta makes the movie look unfinished. Regardless, I enjoyed the whole piece as it stands, with all its little syncopes in timing and style... If nothing else, Romania gave the world a few more than decent filmmakers before 1990.

  1. No, I won't linger on the historical entrails of Romanian cinematography. I guess go read my piece on Sieranevada if you feel like delving into that. It's not much either, but it covers both the new and the old in the same place, so if you're patient enough... who knows, maybe something will rub off. 

Filed under: food for the soul.
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5 Responses to “Moromeții 2”

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