New Directors Competition | 2016 | 106 minutes
Stranger Says: It’s hard not to be charmed by Anishoara’s old-world, quiet beauty. It begins with an adorable elderly man speaking directly into the camera, telling a mythological tale of a woman’s longing. The cinematography of the Eastern European countryside is gorgeous, and while it’s set in current times, it feels like a decades-old time capsule. The old people sing folk songs from a distant era; the young people load watermelons into a truck with joyful camaraderie. There is little speaking, instead using lingering shots of the characters’ faces to tell the story of a beautiful young woman’s coming of age.
SIFF Says:Divided into chapters by the four seasons, director Ana Felicia Scutelnicu’s second feature takes place in a small village in the Eastern European country of Moldova. The rural Moldovan countryside consists of sprawling hillsides and valleys, and is deeply rooted in its simplicity and traditions. Anishoara, a young girl who lives with her elderly grandfather and younger brother, spends her days completing chores around the house and occasionally traveling to town to participate in different festivals and social gatherings. A beautiful, strong young woman, Anishoara attracts several suitors, including an older foreigner who foolishly dyes his gray hair brown in a desperate attempt to appeal to her, a cocky childhood friend who gives her rides on his tractor, and a handsome boy named Dragosh who takes her to the sea for the first time. Mirroring a folk tale told at the beginning of this film, in which a girl rejects her suitors in favor of the unattainable king of the sun, Anishoara comes to terms with both sides of heartbreak. This quiet, gentle tale chronicles the difficult moments between childhood and adulthood in what feels like, at times, an isolated world.
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