Director: Corneliu Porumboiu
Writer: Corneliu Porumboiu
Cast: Toma Cuzin, Adrian Purcarescu, Corneliu Cozmei, Cristina Cuzina Toma, Nicodim Toma
Part of: Scope100 (last year, I participated in the Scope50 project)
Seen on: 27.12.2015
Costi (Toma Cuzin) lives with his family in a small appartment and they only just get by. In the evenings, Costi reads Robin Hood to his son (Nicodin Toma), dreaming of treasures. That dream seems to come closer when Costi’s neighbor Adrian (Adrian Purcarescu) tells him about the treasure his grandfather allegedly buried in their garden. Adrian wants to dig it up, but he needs somebody with a metal detector for that and he doesn’t have the funds to hire anybody. Costi decides to get all his money together and hires Cornel (Corneliu Cozmei) who can bring his metal detector from work. Together the three of them go searching for the treasure.
I quite liked the idea behind Comoara, but I’m afraid that there just wasn’t enough in the film to warrant a full lenght feature. A 20 minute short with that story would have been great. A 90 minute film just felt dragged out.
There is much to like about Comoara. I liked the relationship Costi has with his wife (Cristina Cuzina Toma) that was based in a whole lot of mutual respect – which is surprisingly rare to see in movies. And I generally liked the idea and the cute conclusion the film comes to.
Porumboiu has an eye for absurd situations, giving the entire film a surreal touch, although there is nothing about it that actually veers into the fantastic. But when you’ve got a governmental system that will take anything you find on your property that they deem has historical value and reimburse you for it with some nominal amount no matter how much the thing you find is worth, you don’t need to go into the fantastic to become absurd.
But a surreal set-up doesn’t yet make for a funny or engaging film, you need to do something with the set-up as well. It is here that Comoara falls flat and it’s for that reason that it very much starts to drag. I realize the theoretical funniness of the police calling a thief so they can crack a box open (to name just one example), but the film never acutally made me laugh.
Plus for a film that takes its sweet time with everything, a surprisingly little amount of that time was invested into the characters, leaving them mostly flat and a little lifeless. I never really started to care about them. Maybe if they had felt like fuller humans, I would have wanted to spend more time with them, but as is, I was more in favor of cutting the film down by about an hour.