Thursday, 24 December 2009


Mihai, a stressed schoolteacher, heads out to the countryside with his girlfriend Lubi with the aim of unwinding with a picnic. Driving down a byroad, the two accidentally hit a garishly-dressed prostitute named Ana, and argue about what to do with the body. Lubi, in an apparent habit of hiding everything, wants to dump Ana in the woods and forget it ever happened, a course of action that eventually wins over the didactic Mihai. To their surprise, Ana regains consciousness, and the couple ends up sharing the picnic with her, desperate for her not to find out what really happened. Their phoney benevolence has an unwanted side-effect however, as Ana’s impish behaviour quickly catalyses the dissolution of their relationship.

The movie employs a first-person perspective cinema vérité style, which has recently become associated with horror films like Cloverfield and Paranormal Activity. The film however has more in common with British comedy Peep Show, in that the P.O.V. has nothing to do with characters filming themselves. First-time director Adrian Sitaru instead wants us to experience this farcical day out first-hand, and he refuses to reduce the story to key events, prefacing the drama with naturalistic small talk and donating sufficient screen-time to all three lead characters. Though it’s not a hugely novel concept, the film is still highly inventive, unexpectedly funny and beautiful to look at, thanks to a film transfer funded by French sponsors Arte. Hooked is a radiant, understated debut, marking Sitaru as a talent to watch out for.

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