Director - Cristi Puiu
Script - Cristi Puiu
Camera - Viorel Sergovici
Cast - Cristi Puiu, Clara Voda, Valeria Seciu, Luminita Gheorghiu, Catrinel Dumitrescu
Producer - Anca Puiu, Bobby Paunescu

Cristi Puiu's last film The Death of Mr Lazarescu spent two and a half hours in the company of an ailing man, and by the end of the film, we felt a closeness and sympathy for him as he breathed his last. His new film Aurora gives us three hours in the company of Viorel, and by the end of the film we feel we hardly know him any better than we did at the start.
As played the director himself, giving an astonishing performance, Viorel is a quiet, dead-eyed character who seems permanently distracted. We observe as he performs mundane tasks in a slow, shambling fashion, but then he interrupts his regular routine to buy a rifle and ammunition, and we realise that Viorel is calmly preparing to commit a murder. Puiu intentionally leaves huge gaps in our understanding of this character and his world and never allows us to see behind his protagonist's masks to get a sense of his motivations.
The character is a blank, but watching him in action is utterly compelling. This is partly down to the director's perfectly judged performance in the central role and partly to do with the way he orchestrates his long takes, ensuring the scenes of bloodshed receive no more emphasis than a shot of a man driving his car or painting his flat.

Aurora is darkly humorous, with Puiu allowing the irritations of real life to constantly undermine Viorel's murderous momentum, and while the length of the film may strike many viewers as excessive, I found I was gripped pretty much throughout. A lengthy character study of a man who is essentially unknowable, Aurora is audacious, challenging and hugely impressive.

Philip Concannon, Phil on Film


Karlovy Vary '10 – East of the West Award Wiesbaden '11 – Jury Mention Constanța '11 – Best Feature Film


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