The Treasure

Screening on Film
Directed by Corneliu Porumboiu.
With Toma Cuzin, Adrian Purcarescu, Corneliu Cozmei.
Romania/France, 2019, DCP, color, 89 min.
Romanian with English subtitles.
DCP source: IFC Films

In his latest feature, Porumboiu has honed his craft of subtle, dry humor to a marvelously fine point. With the remote, storybook promise of hidden treasure as the film’s driving force, it is the director’s knack for detailing daily minutia that takes most of the spotlight. Likewise, this outlandishly folkloric premise is taken in stride by its two searchers, neighbors who have decided to split the riches fifty-fifty if the less broke Costi fronts the cash for a metal detector to survey Adrian’s inherited and storied land. Neither ever break a smile when discussing their plan: Porumboiu leaves the amusement to his audience as the minor complications, doubts and bureaucracies accumulate and convolute. An unnerving tension gently mounts alongside the cynical movie-goer’s assumption that this pursuit cannot end well. The real treasure is the film’s surprising, mythic conclusion, the elements of which, Porumboiu keeps hidden in plain, everyday sight.

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