Guests arrive at the mansion of aristocratic landowner and man of the world
Nikolai over the Christmas holidays. Among them are a politician, a young
countess and a general with his wife. They converse and dine – what a
wonderful, much-missed way of life – indulge in parlour games and discuss
politics, progress, morality, death, and the Antichrist. As the debate
becomes more heated, cultural differences become increasingly apparent and
the mood grows tense. In the end, everyone will become a victim of his or
her own discourse.
Puiu was named Best Director for the new Encounters Awards
at the 70th Berlin Film Festival last year, and Malmkrog
won Best Film and Best Screenplay at the 2020 Seville European Film
Festival. Based on the work of Russian philosopher Vladimir Solovyov, Malmkrog is provocative, engrossing, and extremely timely
filmmaking. Puiu, who won the Un Certain Regard Best Film award at Cannes
in 2005, for The Death of Mr Lazarescu, cements his reputation
here as one of Europe’s most accomplished and uncompromising directors.
Elegantly staged and beautifully acted, with first rate performances from
an ensemble cast including Frédéric Schulz-Richard (Waiting For The Barbarians), Ugo Broussot (Territory of Love), Diana Sakalauskaité (Three Exercises of Interpretation), and Marina Palii ( The Silver Forest), the film recalls the drawing room masterworks
of Max Ophüls, and the stark cerebral work of Ingmar Bergman. As the guests
ruminate at length, within the confines of an ornate 19th century manor
house, the viewer is swept along with confounding opinions, prescient
dilemmas, dazzling wordplay and unexpected clashes, all handled with
absolute cinematic mastery by Puiu.