A Month in Thailand ★★★½

A reasonably promising debut, partially because it’s out of step with most films of the Romanian New Wave. This might be an indication of what sort of films travel outside the country more than any attempt at staking a new claim, but it’s noticeable all the same. Instead of obsessing over Romania’s past, Negoescu has crafted a work of schematic naturalism, similar to the early films of Hong Sang-soo. Here a bland male protagonist subjects the women who love him to his whims, swapping one for another in a structural coup that could have come (and probably has) from one of Hong’s works. The familiarity of the approach means the film is unsurprising, and there’s a distracting tidiness about it (the structural rhymes, the punctuatory song cues), but there’s also a strong sense of behavioral modulation that forces viewers to look for clues in the smallest shifts.