Tuesday, After Christmas (2010) Poster

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ionutursu19 September 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Don't let yourself be scared away by the scarcity and banality of the plot written on the main page here. It's not the fault of the person who wrote it, you simply cannot add more. It sounds like a story which has been told in books and movies for hundred and thousand of times. So what's so special here? The dramatic tension that builds up and the truthfulness to ... well, to life (I know it sounds quite mundane)are quite special. Don't expect blows and strokes a la "Damage" or "La paura", you won't find them here.

After Christmas, after the time of (profane) rituals, conventions and mystifying is gone, Paul, the leading male character, hopes to begin anew, to be more truthful to himself, although knowing this will cause a lot of sorrow to some of his beloved ones. There is nothing exterior that forces him to confess the truth, knowing that this confession will bring an irremediable change to his life. Somebody else could live on, performing the same rituals and conventions (of family life, of life as a married adult with a child), Paul can't. It's up to anyone to decide how much convention and steadiness one is willing to accept feeling the growing "burden of the heart".

This is probably director Radu Muntean's most cohesive movie up to date. With his previous attempt to make a Romanian-middle-class-drama, "Boogie", I felt that there is something (small, indeed) missing, there was still something round-up. Not the case with this movie, nothing too much or too less, my grouchy self piped down. Great performances by the main actors, incredible tense scenes (the bed scene, at the dentist's, visit to Constanta, confession, Christmas Eve), naturalistic dialogue, etc. Like in other young Romanian director's movies (Puiu, Mungiu, Porumboiu), expect quite a lot of long takes, minimalist soundtrack, no hyperboles, no black and white painting. Just truthfulness.
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a love triangle facing the truth
dromasca9 October 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I have previously seen only the first film of director Radu Muntean - 'Furia' (The Anger) made in 2002 - and I remember it as a very different kind of film. The style was dynamic and dramatic, and the theme was related to the period of transition of Romania after the fall of the Communism, with strong critical social accents against the decay of the morals and culture of these troubled times. Eight years and three films later 'Marti, dupa Craciun' (Tuesday After Christmas) is a very different kind of movie. The social commentary is not at all in focus here (although not completely absent), the localization is not important as the story could happen any place and any time, and the style is very different, aligned with what became known as the Romanian 'minimalist' New Wave style. What is common is the quality. The promise that Muntean was showing in that first movie turned now into the work of a mature director, fully mastering his tools, very sure on the story he wants to tell and the way he tells it.

'Marti, dupa Craciun' tells a classical love story of a triangle that is caught in the critical moment of the relationship. To underline the dramatic lines of the conflict the segment in time that the script chooses are days before Christmas, the ultimate family holidays seasons. It is at that moment of the year that Paul Hanganu, a successful banking adviser in his mid 30s must chose between his lawyer wife Adriana and the younger dentist Raluca, with whom he has fallen irreversibly and incurably in love. No moral judgment is made about the situation or about the decision, love (in good Romanian literature tradition I may say) is looked at as an indisputable work of destiny, something one cannot fight, closer to disease or witchcraft than rational decisions. The whole story evolves around these three characters and their close family and friends circle which is busy with the holiday routine. A fragile balance oscillates not only in the soul and mind of the man who must chose between the stability and fidelity of his wife and the intensity of the feelings for his lover, but also between the lie of a relation that if revealed will be condemned by the social environment, and the truth of the sentiment in the new relationship. If eventually the truth is to prevail it will be at a high cost and nobody will be happy the day after Christmas. Fulfillment of love comes at a price, and there is no such thing as fair game in triangle relations.

The 'minimalist' style is poignant in this film and works well, which may become in time one of the examples that explains in cinema schools how the method works. We have here all the principal characteristics of the style - the long and static shots where the focus is left to the actors, the low tone in which the story is told with realist and sincere dialogs, the avoidance of any sophisticated settings or complicated camera work. In order for the method to work good actors are needed, and director Muntean directs the work of a wonderful team, with Mimi Branescu (Paul), Mirela Oprisor (Adriana) and Maria Popistasu (Raluca) in the principal roles. Memorable scenes like the opening which sets the context of the sexual tension that drives the whole story, the scene in the dentist' s cabinet where the three characters dance around the innocence of the little girl of Paul and Adriana who is the potential victim of the story, part of them knowing the truth and part ignoring it, the scene of the revelation of the truth when the world of Adriana falls apart, and the final scene, where the Christmas carols symbolize the serenity and sacredness of the holidays, and of the stable family life which does not exist any longer, because the day after comes after any holiday.

For many years the Romanian cinema had to pay a double dept - describing the Communist era with its lies and oppression, and dealing with the reality of the traumatic transition of Romania from dictatorship to democracy. Hesitating in style for more than a decade after the fall of the Iron Curtain, the accumulated energy burst to life after the first years of the century with the young directors of the new wave, in a style that had to deal with the economy of means of a cinema school that works at low budgets, and with a need and capacity of telling the truth and being true to the themes it dealt with and with its viewers. This is one of the big qualities of 'Marti, dupa Craciun' - it is true in its message and never sounds false or artificial. It is good to see that the young directors of the new wave who are not that young any longer continue to be true to themselves, while gaining in experience and maturity. It is also good to see that new themes and new environments show up in the Romanian films. 'Marti dupa Craciun' is a mid-class drama which describes a Romania that goes beyond the social traumas of the past. Such movies and such themes are good and necessary for a mature cinema school.
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As real as it gets.
stefanstatescu14 July 2011
Warning: Spoilers
What I loved most about this movie is it's realism. The actors give a great performance and it's just the way it's supposed to be. Everything feels real, the arguing, the conversations, the situations. It all flows naturally and you can relate to the characters and think: "wow, I've been there," or "I've definitely seen that before." The tension, the fights between Paul and his wife are the real thing. Drama is not forced, it's not stupid, etc...

I do not know if a non-Romanian viewer will feel the same but I thought this movie portrayed life exactly as it is, without gloss or forced sub-plots, and that is very rarely seen. It may be a cultural thing however. Probably American culture is very different , and that's why guns, pedophiles, crazy driving, genius scientists, blacks and drugs, stock exchange, apocalypse, bruce willis saving the world, Asian crime gangs, etc (things that have no place in Romanian society) never feel real to me.

Anyway, I'm sure this movie will not feel real only to Romanians, but to many other peoples around the globe.

Btw, there is a user review by mmguica (from the United States) in which he/she says: "The characters had incredibly little depth." I totally disagree. Let's take the main character. There is not much depth shown, that is true, but I(and I'm sure other Romanians) instantly understand the character, He is a middle class man working hard and trying to bring good money. There is not much to him because he is a normal Romanian. He is not excessive, he is not crazy, gay, unstable, dramatic. He is a normal, emotionally stable man that's trying to support a household. And there are millions like him.
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A Unique Cliché
hbhasan-bilal21 July 2013
Although the movie appears to be a modern day cliché in film making just by reading the plot summary, it is anything but. Yes it's a story about a much used concept of love triangles, yes it's a story about heartbreaks and infidelity, but seldom does one see a movie taking out the time to delicately develop the situational markers, the palpitating tension and the deep-rooted feeling of guilt and remorse. This movie paints an unadulterated picture of love, disloyalty and heartbreak. Where other movies include this concept as a plot enhancement or twist, director Radu Muntean sketches a brilliant exposé on a man's struggle between his love and his guilt amidst the delicate balance of family.
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A film where nothing happens. Hard to spoil a movie where nothing happens. The storyline on IMDb is the whole story.
grandthefttechno27 September 2016
Warning: Spoilers
2 stars for realism, and 1 star for not being another depressing movie about some drug-addicted street orphans (you know the type) but that's about it.

I'll break it down scene by scene without giving any plot spoilers, which is easy, since there is barely any plot. The storyline you see on the IMDb main page is the whole story.

The film starts with the main character (Paul) and his mistress cuddling and talking in bed for about 10 minutes. Then he shops with his wife for Christmas gifts, trying shirts, looking for a snowboard, etc. There's a few scenes in cars, the most eventful of which Paul tries to dissuade his wife from going to the dental clinic.

Then there's the dental clinic scene, a scene of over 20 minutes, in real time, with no cuts, from waiting room to second room to examination/surgery room. The doctor explains the situation (their child needs braces), how to use them, the future, etc. to both parents, with the child sometimes interrupting or needing explanation. The parents need time to decide, and there's no cuts, we just wait and see. The only interesting thing here is that the dentist is Paul's mistress, so the director decided that we need to see 20 or so minutes of this.

We see Paul's domestic life, having dinner, his wife helping him shave the back of his head, random boring stuff. Then Paul goes to talk to his mistress, who's unhappy with the situation.

At one hour four minutes into this 1:39 hour film, nothing has happened yet. We just know that Paul has a mistress, his wife doesn't know and their child needs braces.

As the synopsis says, and if I may "spoil" it, he tells his wife and after asking him the who/what/when/where, she tells him that their marriage is over. There's one packing scene (where he packs his stuff to leave) and a family dinner where the married couple keeps up the pretense for the sake of their child.

In short, a man has an affair with his daughter's dentist. He tells his wife, who then asks for a divorce. That's it.

Many European film makers have taken the (reactionary) position that European cinema is the opposite of Hollywood cinema. So if Hollywood makes a movie that's all fast cuts, shaky cam, action, witty one-liners, big music and bigger events, then continental film makers want to make something with no cuts whatsoever, real time, long-take, no dialogue, all about facial expressions and silence. Both philosophies have reached the point of caricature and parody.

I would not be surprised to see a European film where it's a black-and- white, no-dialogue, single-take 2 hour film of a man having an espresso and a pack of cigarettes in silence as he contemplates something that's only mentioned in the title of the film.
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He has to decide by Christmas.
Red-1258 January 2012
The Romanian film "Marti, Dupa Craciun" (2010) was shown in the United States with the title, "Tuesday, After Christmas." The movie is co-written and directed by Radu Muntean.

Many movies show female full frontal nudity, so the fact that this occurs in this movie is no great surprise. What is surprising is that the film opens with two of the principals in bed. They have obviously just made love, and what we hear and see is their casual, languid talk right afterward. The woman has no reason to cover herself, so we see the nudity within the first minute or two of the film. Definitely different.

The man, Paul, is played by Mimi Branescu. (Apparently Mimi can be a man's name in Romania.) He looks and acts like an Eastern European George Clooney, although he's not as handsome as Clooney.

We learn that the woman, played by Maria Popistasu, is Raluca, who has been having an affair with Paul for months. She is certainly young and beautiful. (In fact, all of her is beautiful, as we learn in the first few minutes of the film.) What sets Raluca apart from most "other women" is that she's a dentist. (I can't remember ever seeing a movie where one of the women actors is a dentist.) In fact, it was through dentistry that she and Paul met, because Paul's daughter is her patient.

Mirela Oprisor plays Adriana, Paul's wife. She too is very beautiful, although that aspect of her appearance is played down in the movie. She too is intelligent, and she loves Paul.

That's the basic plot of the film. Paul has to decide. It's Christmas, and, in the context of the film, one of the women is going to get Paul for a Christmas present, and one is going to get left by Paul as her present.

The film proceeds almost like a documentary. We meet Raluca's mother, Paul's parents, Adriana's sister, and some family friends. Paul and Adriana take their daughter to Raluca's clinic. Obviously, Paul and Raluca are exquisitely aware of the awkwardness of the situation, but, equally obviously, Adriana is not.

All of these essentially normal activities take place with the clock ticking--in Paul's mind and in ours. Either way, this is going to end badly for someone. We just don't know who that someone will be, and what will happen after Paul decides. It's not a great movie if you want violent action or broad dramatic strokes. It is a great movie if you want to see a portrayal of normal people in an all-too-normal situation.

I enjoyed this movie and recommend it. The only weakness is that it wasn't clear to me what qualities Paul had that would make both women want him as their partner. He's attractive enough, apparently virile enough, and fairly well off financially. However, Raluca knows he's cheating on his wife. What makes her think he won't cheat on her? Adrianna knows that he's away a lot, and, even when he's there, he's not particularly loving or caring. Still, there it is. Two women want him, and only one will have him.

We saw this film at the excellent Dryden Theatre at George Eastman House in Rochester. It will work well on DVD, because all of the important scenes take place indoors. I think it's definitely worth finding and seeing.
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Don't watch this film - no spoilers - Don't say you weren't warned.
charmaments31 January 2017
This is a "slice of life" film. To give you an example, Fight Club is about the few months in which the main character establishes his first fight club and network of franchises across the country. It's a story that spans quite some time, so some parts are compressed - the highlights are shown, the rest is implied or shown in montages.

Some films focus on a much thinner slice, the peak of the story. This story attempts that. We are not to see the beginning of the relationship, the honeymoon phase, the stagnation and then the affair. We are introduced to the characters already in the middle of the affair period.

The "peak" of this story is the time Paul has to make a decision. Without spoiling the story (not that it could be spoiled), Paul has to chose between these two women, supposedly, according to the synopsis. With deductive reasoning, you can already guess that he is not the one who says "you have to make a choice" - this man is a cheater, his actions already show that he wants both at the same time. So you can guess that this "make a choice" ultimatum was made to him by someone.

But there isn't really much of a choice. We are shown his two lives, a completely normal, uneventful domestic life with his wife and child on one hand and a new relationship on the other, with more passion, since it's the start. In short, one has brushing teeth, shaving and quiet dinners and the other has pillow talk.

This is all from the photos, there are no spoilers here.

Almost everything is in real time, meaning, we're not given the highlights. You know how pillow talk lasts 1 minute in films, whereas in real life it's 15? Don't worry about it, here you get the whole 15. You know how waiting rooms last a long time whereas in films it's seconds? Well, it's all in here. Do you want to see people Christmas shopping? In real time? It's here. It's all long takes.

This film is a short film with little story fattened up with banal scenes that add nothing.

Surely some will see it as some sort of Romanian version of American Beauty, i.e. the middle class dream is not all that great, but this film is seriously overrated. The reviews are all glowing, but it only has 7/10. The number of people giving it 9 and above is almost equal to the number of people giving it 5 and under.

Consider that there is some pre-filtering going on. The average person would not watch a Romanian film to begin with, so the only people voting are people used to more minimalist foreign films. It's still not good though.

The cinema of Romania has experienced many difficult decades, where filmmakers were not allowed to tell the truth about what was happening in their country. This film does not have any of these shackles. Instead, the director showed the real Romania, reality as it is, without a pinch of salt to boost the entertainment value.

Either add a bit of spice to the film to make it more enjoyable or cut it smarter to only show the best parts of this normal life. Even if I were to edit my own boring life, I'd be able to make it interesting by editing out the boring parts.

This film does not only not cut out the boring parts, it is just the boring parts. Those parts are the main focus and that's why it's getting such high praise from people who hate car-chase scenes and roof top fights. I hate car chases too, but I don't want to see a complete, uncut dental appointment from parking to exit.

My friends did not finish this film but I did. They didn't even bother asking what happened later.

Don't say you weren't warned.
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An overdose of reality !
avlieox20 December 2010
Warning: Spoilers
When you saw the title you must think there must be something about Christmas ! Wrong...just a good title with no major connection with Christmas ! If you're not Romanian i think it's hard to see the mediocrity of language, regular life, normal behavior. Long takes seems to prove that ... !

If you have a choleric sparkle temper you will not like this movie but i'm sure that critics will love it because i see this movie like a statement, a manifest, a counteraction against today movie industry. It's what we Romanians call "like a dry joke" ... i guess you'd say black humor. It's like when you expect a superhero to save the world he's hit by a bus. If you expect the extraordinary you will not get it. Very good acting ! But do we look at movies to see something ordinary ?
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Excellent, understated drama
bandw9 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I questioned whether I wanted to see yet another examination of a failed marriage, but I am glad I watched this. The thing that sets it apart is its total believability. There are no high voltage fireworks as in many movies such as a Bergman film, where the partners rip the flesh off of each other by rehashing all possible old wounds. Instead we get a drama that plays almost like a documentary.

I confess that about half way through I was feeling that things were going a bit slow by concentrating on routine daily chores, like getting groceries, shopping for presents, taking the daughter to the dentist, and so forth. But this served to establish that the life of the couple Paul and Adriana had devolved into little more than daily routine. You could almost extrapolate what their lives would be until the end. And I think this is what Paul was seeing when the opportunity to change course presented itself by his striking up a relationship with the attractive Raluca.

This is not to say that there are no dramatic scenes to be had later in the film, but those scenes are well motivated by what has gone before. The scene where Paul tells Adriana the truth is exceptionally well acted and is a bit painful to watch, since it is so honestly scripted.

You may come away feeling that Paul has made a very bad, or even deplorable, decision, but you understand his motivations and realize he is not a monster. I think this movie captures the essence of thousands of similar stories that are being played out every day in real life.
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So, where is the message?
mmguica30 January 2011
Given the commonplaceness of the subject of the movie, one may have thought that the director would have liked to address the question of adultery from a possibly new (moral, artistic) angle. This was my reason for watching the movie, and I had to be disappointed.

The characters had incredibly little depth, with the notable exception of the lover (the dentist) whom I found to give a very sensible performance. As far as the main character is concerned, there is very little struggle, care for other's feelings, humbleness. One may view his character as a depiction of the stereotypical "romanian man". The Romanian Man whose masculinity has to be praised, for whom it is completely normal to have both a wife and a lover, and who has to be congratulated if he decides to do anything about it. I am not sure how many such stereotypical "romanian men" are there in Romania (possibly few, but the character did ring a bell), but I would say the main character makes an interesting reflection on current society.

As has already been remarked, the conversation is *boring*, there is no spark of life, of joy, of complicity among these middle-class busy people. No love either. Is this a depiction of Romania's today middle-class marital relations? Where all the conversation revolves around work and the last things we bought, but there's no talk of the soul? Is this why the action takes place around Christmas, the pinnacle of consumerism of the year?

The reason that I am giving the movie 5 points is that the performances of the actors are, in fact, very good and the characters are natural and believable. The opening scene is truly refreshing and the scene at the doctor's carries a very palpable tension. The problem is the remaining hour...

In conclusion, I found the above movie very plain, boring, and somewhat depressing for the reasons described above. Also, it was filmed in a very factual, realistic manner with no questions raised. So, then, my question is: what is the message of this movie?
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Real Drama
kenjha26 December 2012
A Romanian man must choose between his wife and his lover. The pacing is very deliberate. Scenes are filmed in long takes and little happens in terms of plot or action. However, the leisurely approach allows the viewer to get to know the characters, who are all very real. The characters and situations are so real that one can empathize with their plight. The acting is excellent all around. Branescu is not able to shine in the unsympathetic role of the man in the love triangle. However, Oprisor as the wife and Popistasu as the lover both turn in wonderfully natural performances. Muntean is a talented writer-director, someone to keep an eye on.
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worst film yet (pathetic, lame, boring, tedious)
anonreview227 March 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Nice opening scene, and that's it!

We meet the characters, but are never given any reason to care about what happens to them... there's no reason for one woman to love this jerk (the male lead), let alone two. No motivation is given for any of the characters' actions. All of the dialog is trite, predictable, and banal. The only bright note is a small, ordinary child, with one cute line about Barbie toys. I hope she gets to act in a better movie!

I watched this with my husband, and usually we both like foreign films (we lived in Germany for many years). But this film proves that Europeans can produce clunkers just like Hollywood.

You end up hoping they'll all be drowned in the Danube (except the kid).
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The whole review is a spoiler so don't read it if you don't want to know...
makeuplover6930 December 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Paul a married, middle aged, banker has a midlife crisis and is in a months long affair with his daughter's dental assistant. He struggles with staying with his wife and wanting to be with his much younger mistress.

It is obvious from the beginning there is no spark left in the marriage and both Paul and his wife Adriana are just going through the motions of family life. They discuss their daughter's need for braces, her piano lesson schedule, and what to pick up at the supermarket. While their daughter brings them happiness the marriage seems mundane and lifeless.

Paul has illicit trysts with his lover in her apartment and lies to his wife about being on the road for business. His lover gives him the freedom he desires and does not put any pressures on him to leave his wife. He comes and goes at will and that suits him to a point. When he is not with her he is thinking of her and finds excuses to see her.

The best scene of the whole movie is when Paul confesses to Adriana about his affair and who it is with. It is a very emotional and traumatic time for Adriana who I believe gives the best performance.
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Intriguing title unsupported by content
jelly-9226518 September 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Super boring. Maybe it's because I'm not Romanian. Nothing new or original and I actually fell asleep. Rewound the bits I missed. Shouldn't have bothered. Lots of reviews here talk about new wave cinema-who cares what kind of cinema it is? What's important is that it is engaging. This film did not engage me much at all. No complaints about the acting however; everyone in it was fine although a few scenes felt a tad stilted or irrelevant and the tedious scene where the child was playing the piano seemed to go on forever and really grated on my nerves. Ditto the final scene with the carol singers. The dialogue, while realistic and mainly believable, was not interesting and gave little or no insight into motive, relationship histories or character. It is one thing to present a slice of life to the audience, another to offer nothing different in doing so.
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A slice of real life -- nothing more
clewis26666 January 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Those who like action in their films (as one reviewer well put it: guns, paedophiles, crazy driving, genius scientists, blacks and drugs, stock exchange, apocalypse, Bruce Willis saving the world, Asian crime gangs, etc --things that have no place in Romanian society)- will not like this film. I confess I found it a little boring until the final emotional scene where the actress playing the wife gives an astonishing portrayal of grief, which I will never forget. Utterly convincing. The rest is a deliberately mundane account of adultery between two very uninteresting, i.e. normal, people, who obviously enjoy, whether they know this or not, the thrill and the deception -- playing their pre-ordained roles in the time-honoured way of us human beings. One can admire the artistry with which the mundane is conscientiously portrayed but asking at the same time 'Do I need to see this? I prefer Bruce Willis'. The saving grace, for me, was, as I have said, the betrayal scene and the subsequent reaction of the wife. The other two are really no more than ciphers. The husband is completely without charm,vigour or grace, whomever he is with and the mistress is just that, and no better for being a professional (dentist). So film buffs may rave, while I acknowledge the qualities of the film, but say that it is not really the sort of material which I like to spend 90 minutes of my timer with. Correction: true, but that actress added something to my life in the last 15 minutes of the film.
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