Romanian filmmaker Corneliu Porumboiu's self-referential follow-up to minimalist procedural Police, Adjective hinges on a battle of wills between a movie director and a theater actress. Paul (Bogdan Dumitrache) wants Alina (Diana Avramut) to do a nude scene, but she’ll only do it if it serves a purpose. He assures her that it does, so they work on the script, which creates more conflicts. To unwind, they eat, smoke, and make love.
As in his first feature, 12:08 East of Bucharest, Porumboiu favors static compositions with few close-ups or visible camera moves (he lets the limitations of 35 mm form the structure). His primary concern is the way the duo looks for flaws in each other's logic. They’re like two tigers circling each other, both seeking a vulnerable spot into which to sink their teeth. If the two antagonists from Harold Pinter’s The Servant found themselves on the set of My Dinner with Andre, the results might play a little like this.
In contrast with the work of countrymen Cristi Puiu (The Death of Mister Lazarescu) and Cristian Mungiu (Beyond the Hills), there isn’t much action here, but it’s fun to try to figure out who’s lying and why. One way or the other: Porumboiu isn’t telling.