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December 7, 2021

“If I Want to Whistle …” opens in the US

The film “If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle” – Romania’s official submission for the best foreign language film in the 2011 Oscars – had its American premiere last week at the New York Film Forum. The gala screening was attended by the director Florin Serban, the producer Daniel Mitulescu and Andreea Valean, the writer of the play on which the film is based.

The main film magazines in the States did not wait for the festive event, organized by the Romanian Cultural Institute (ICR) New York, to start writing highly appreciative reviews of the film. The online publication IndieWire – the main authority on indie film in the US – published yesterday a new review, in which it appreciates the film as “a strong debut”. “Set in a barren juvenile detention center, the movie works as a grueling coming-of-age story, linking it to the likes of ‘4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days’, even if it lacks the same lasting appeal,” the American reviewer argues. According to the same source, Florin Serban “powerfully conveys Silviu’s psychological anguish, emphasizing quiet moments rather than explosions of rage”.

“Like many other recent Romanian films (…), it trails after a young protagonist whose choices are drastically limited and not very promising,” film critic A.O. Scott wrote, in last Tuesday’s edition of the “New York Times”. Unfortunately, the last third of the film strikes the American critic as “something like a nerve-racking, grimly absurd replay of ‘Dog Day Afternoon’”. Alongside Alexandru Maftei’s “Hello, how are you?”, Serban’s film was selected in the Palm Springs Festival, running until January 17.

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