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Cristi PuiuRomania176 minutes201614AColourRomanian

A patriarch’s wake turns into a full-on familial tempest, in the brilliant new film from uncompromising Romanian auteur Cristi Puiu (The Death of Mr. Lazarescu).

An extended Bucharest family gathers for dinner as part of an Orthodox tradition meant to usher the soul of the clan patriarch to Heaven — but it's all Hell that breaks loose in this terrifically lifelike comédie humaine from uncompromising Romanian auteur Cristi Puiu (The Death of Mr. Lazarescu), a highlight of last year's Cannes Competition. With more than a dozen people crammed into the widow's dark and fusty apartment, the meal is increasingly deferred as conspiracy theories commingle with marital tensions, infidelities, mourning, and sibling rivalry. In Sieranevada, Puiu has not only created one of cinema's great human frescos and social portraits, but a virtuosic dinner-table set piece to rival Buñuel's The Exterminating Angel.

DramaRelationshipsFamilyEastern Europe