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Police, Adjective - Corneliu Porumboiu profile

Romanian filmmaker leading movement committed to realism and use of black humour

Police, Adjective - Corneliu Porumboiu profile

Corneliu Porumboiu

Vaslui, Romania, 1974.

Porumboiu studied film at the National University of Drama and Film in Bucharest. He first received acclaim for his short film A Trip to the City (2003). This was followed by his debut feature 12.08 East of Bucharest (2006) which won the prestigious Camera d’Or at Cannes Film Festival. Along with directors Cristi Puiu (The Death of Mr Lazarescu) and Christian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) Porumboiu has been heralded as part of a new wave of Romanian filmmakers whose work has been characterised by its commitment to realism and use of black humour.

What’s he up to now?
Porumboiu’s second feature Police, Adjective is in cinemas now. The dark comedy inverts the conventions of the detective genre and uses long takes and careful pacing to capture the slow monotony and routine of police work. It tells the story of Cristi (Dragos Bucur), a policeman reluctant to arrest a teenager he is trailing for sharing cannabis amongst his friends. Cristi believes the law will soon change and doesn’t want the impact that the arrest will have on the boy’s life to weigh on his conscience, ideas which clash strongly with those of his boss.

On the film’s title
‘The title came after I shot the movie; I wanted to have a reference to the genre and also to the way that we use words. In the end it’s a movie about words and the way we represent.’

On the tone of his films
‘I think my movies are tragi-comic, if I have to characterise them, because at the end the characters want to find the truth and it’s a big gap between what they can do and what they want to do.’

On the Romanian New Wave
‘Cinema during the Communist period was a propaganda tool; there were two kinds of movie at that time, there was this kind of propaganda movie or very metaphorical anti-system, anti-political movies. So for my generation [of filmmakers], there’s a more direct concern with the fidelity of the reality.’

Interesting facts
Both 12.08 East of Bucharest and Police, Adjective are shot in Porumboiu’s hometown of Vaslui in northeast Romania. Police, Adjective was also Romania’s entry for Best Foreign Language Film at this year’s Oscars.

Police, Adjective, GFT, Glasgow until Thu 7 Oct; Filmhouse, Edinburgh until Thu 14 Oct; Cameo, Edinburgh, Fri 29 Oct-Mon 4 Nov (matinees only).

Police, Adjective

  • 4 stars
  • 2009
  • Romania
  • 114 min
  • 12A
  • Directed by: Corneliu Porumboiu
  • Written by: Corneliu Porumboiu
  • Cast: Dragoş Bucur

Deliberately-paced police procedural anti-thriller from Romanian writer-director Corneliu Porumboiu, following undercover cop Cristi (Bucur) as he questions the wisdom of attempting to charge and convict a teenager for dope-smoking. A clever and deceptively simple interrogation into the nature of authoritarianism…


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