Întregalde is a sharply drawn and subtle fable about the meaning of charity and the limits of altruism.
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Muntean leads us into a playfully caustic realm of social satire, as his characters find themselves in unknown territory without either GPS or a clear moral compass.
The subtleties and vagaries of human behavior sometimes get lost in the sheer mundanity of the action, although the film gradually builds toward a meaningful depiction of what charity actually means — and it’s far from what the volunteers set out to do in the first place.
The sly genius of Întregalde is how readily its characters — who can be cruel and decent, self-serving and well-meaning, often in the same instance — encourage the viewer to take their own moral inventory.
Watching it again recently, I now saw a movie that, with humor, tenderness and flashes of filmmaking brilliance, looks at what happens when kindness is tested, masks are dropped and self-interest runs free. It’s all a mess and so are we, which I think is very much to Muntean’s point.
There’s more atmosphere than plot in the Romanian drama Intregalde, a moody parable that sometimes feels like the Eastern European arthouse response to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.