Love games! Lawmen! Old songs! Folklore! The Evil Eye! Puppets! Aferim!
Old ways are rendered anew in this darkly funny, ribald comedy/period piece/Western from director Radu Jude. The “Wallachian Western” is a new kind of classic, featuring all the standard elements – but set in 1835 Romania, where the Roma people are held as slaves, noblemen wield tyrannical power, and foreign occupiers terrorize the populace.
A lawman and his son are dispatched to find a runaway slave. Their encounters reveal a cross-section of society tinged with ignorance and sedimented hatreds passed down through generations.
The result is a “current of informed anger” mingled with sardonic humor, in a film that sharply points a finger at bigotry all while poking fun.
"a funny and brutal costume drama with a potent contemporary kick....Shot in richly toned, wide-screen black and white, “Aferim!” looks like an elegant exercise in period playacting. But it casts a fierce, revisionist eye on the past, finding the cruelty and prejudice that lie beneath the pageantry."
"[Radu] Jude creates an indecently enjoyable smokescreen of ribald back-and-forth...delicious and wicked"
"director Radu Jude pioneers a new genre - the Wallachian Western - and brings style and insight to a historical tale of pursuit and persecution....The crisp black-and-white photography and brisk panning shots across alluring landscapes capture the cruelty of the times and the pitiless course of history with a bitter majesty."
"An exceptional, deeply intelligent gaze at a key historical period, done with wit as well as anger."
"A harsh history lesson leavened by bawdy humor and classic western elements"