Cristian Mungiu’s R.M.N. stars Marin Grigore as Matthias, who returns to his multi-ethnic Transylvanian village after quitting his job. in Germany and reunites with his son, Rudi (Mark Blenyesi), and his old lover, Csilla (Judith State), the boss of the local bread factory. When Csilla hires two workers from Sri Lanka, the deep-seated racism in the village is brought to the surface.

Matthias is framed as the protagonist of this story, but by far, Csilla is the best character thanks to State, who provides the necessary empathy and strength in contrast to her fellow townspeople and even Matthias himself—the faintest light ignited in the darkness. Without her unwillingness to give up the fight, there would be nothing to push this film along. 

Fierce xenophobia is at the very centre of Mungiu’s R.M.N., and he takes arguments such as this forces and us to listen, eliciting visceral anger at times. The brilliance of this entire film is put on display during the town hall meeting, which was impressively shot all in one long take. Through Mungiu’s strong screenplay that highlights the irony of this hatred in instances such as parishioners spewing poorly disguised racism in a church, and brought to life by moving performances not only from the main cast, but every single person in that town, the tension remains high even during the slower first half that meticulously sets up the rest of the story.

R.M.N. has a hauntingly beautiful backdrop to the ugliest parts of human behavior. Though we are given the slightest glimmer of hope through acts of kindness, this is not a positive film. At the end we are left with this: there is good and there is bad, and suffering is the one constant for all.



CAST: Marin Grigore, Judith State

DIRECTOR: Cristian Mungiu

WRITER: Cristian Mungiu

SYNOPSIS: Matthias returns to his multi-ethnic Transylvanian village after quitting his job in Germany.