In various guises, death is a regular visitor in the films of Cristi Puiu. For example, in the form of the bankrupt (or at least inefficient) Romanian health service in The Death of Mr. Lazarescu, or as a murderer who has had enough of the complaints of his in-laws in the deliberately strung-out anti-thriller Aurora. The way death and the ghosts of Romania past play a role in Sieranevada is up to the viewer, but it’s always a joy to discover.
The backdrop is a small apartment in Bucharest, where a group of relatives and friends come together to eat and drink and ritually get annoyed at each other. Through the conversations and observations of the protagonist, a middle-aged doctor, and the camera that moves freely through the cramped spaces, Puiu continuously changes tone and theme and creates a darkly humorous story about the fears and frustrations of his beloved compatriots.