In the late nineteenth century, a Russian aristocrat Nikolay hosts a gathering of five people from his circle in the snowy village of Malmkrog, Transylvania. In the dining hall of his mansion, a sophisticated conversation about the future of Europe takes place, as a wounded general is dying in the next room. The radical three-hour polylogue—an adaptation of Vladimir Solovyov's philosophical text Three Conversations—premiered and won the Best Director award in the Encounters section of the Berlin Film Festival in 2020.
Directed by one of the pioneers of the Romanian New Wave, Cristi Puiu (The Death of Mr. Lăzărescu), Malmkrog rhymes with his previous picture Sieranevada—a story set in the tiny space of a cheap apartment in Bucharest yet epic in the scope of the subjects it covered. Malmkrog also hardly leaves the space of a rich countryside mansion and consists of endless conversations in French—the preferred language of Russian aristocracy. Cinematographer Tudor Panduru (known for his work on Cristian Mungiu's Graduation) skilfully captures the conversations with extra-long shots that often resemble paintings.
If The Death of Mr. Lăzărescu was devoted to dying, and Sieranevada to the wake, Malmkrog—like the prophetic text by Solovyov—is threaded with a premonition of disasters. The audience already knows what the twentieth century will bring with it, but the protagonists have no idea, providing Puyu with a strong dramatic core for a long film.
The film will be screened in French, Russian, German, and Hungarian languages with Russian subtitles.
Director: Cristi Puiu
Romania, Serbia, Switzerland, Sweden, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, 2020. 201 min. 16+