Malmkrog (Cristi Puiu, 2020)

In 2011, director Cristi Puiu, best known for setting the course for the Romanian New Wave with The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (2005), conducted an acting workshop in Toulouse based on episodes from Russian philosopher Vladimir Solovyov’s 1900 novel War, Progress, and the End of History: Three Conversations, Including a Short Story of the Anti-Christ. The sparsely staged scenarios, never intended to be shown publicly, eventually became Three Interpretation Exercises (2013), a three-part feature in which Solovyov’s text, a veritable taxonomy of modern social ills and humanity’s inherent evils, revealed a nascent philosophical streak in the filmmaker’s work. Malmkrog, Puiu’s new film, finds the director returning to Solovyov’s text for a period adaptation that determinedly pushes his cinematic gamesmanship to new lengths. Set in turn-of-the-20th-century Transylvania, at…

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