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A film by Radu Jude
2016 / 141 min
In Romanian, with English subtitles
During the summer of 1937, Emanuel, a young man in his early twenties, is committed to a sanatorium on the Black Sea coast for treatment of his bone tuberculosis. The treatment consists of painful spine punctures that confine him to a body cast on a stretcher-bed.
Little by little, as Emanuel gets accustomed to the limitations of his new life, he discovers that inside the sanatorium there is still a life to be lived to the fullest. He makes friends and engages in conversations, political for the most part. He reads, he writes, he smokes and drinks, interacts with doctors, nurses and stretcher-bearers. He observes how healing seems to happen transiently, following mysterious laws: some patients get better, some worse, others die. He even has a romantic relationship, while Romania outside the sanatorium doesn‘t have much to offer him, turning more and more into an extreme right-wing society...
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– Ben Kenigsberg, The New York Times
“Despite its bleak theme, the film brims with anarchic life...”
– Jonathan Romney, Film Comment
"This fanatically detailed, intellectually furious drama, set in 1937, in a Romanian seaside sanitarium, catches a young Jewish writer in the jaws of disease and of Fascism... The medical regimen provides a background for the slow-motion whirl of young intellectuals, politicians, and socialites who turn the hospital into a microcosm of European diseases of the soul."
– Richard Brody, The New Yorker