I guess I just didn't get it? It's a perfectly average thriller, decently, but not exceptionally, acted (Steven Yeun has fun as an entitled creep, but I couldn't help but wonder this was a bit of stunt casting). Themes are spelled out REALLY LOUDLY, but only detail that effectively registers is the distant hum of North Korean propaganda wafting from across the border, that punctuates life in the protagonist's village.
What's most representative of Birdman are not its uniformly excellent performances (with special mention going to Edward Norton's live wire act as a preening, insufferable, yet spectacularly talented stage star). Nor is it Emmanuel Lubezki's extraordinary cinematography, which condenses space and time and makes the film one of the closest visual representations of what it feels like to watch a live performance. Nor is it Iñárritu's irritating, pretentious use of magical realism.
No, the most representative scene in all of…
Aferim! reminds me most of Hard to Be a God: to be sure, it's cleaner and funnier, and its sumptuous black and white photography and splendid landscapes also make it prettier to watch. But underneath all these lays, just as in German's film, a terrible bleakness. Aferim! may well be the most important movie made in Romania since the New Wave kicked off in 2001 with The Stuff and the Dough.
There's a curious lack of political or social critique…