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If I Want To Whistle, I Whistle

If I Want To Whistle, I Whistle
Florin Şerban, Romania

In the past five or six years, Romanian cinema has been breaking through to the international art house circuit, including such well regarded titles as 4 Months 3 Weeks and 2 Days, The Death of Mr. Lăzărescu, 12:08 East of Bucharest and Police, Adjective. Şerban's sophomore effort continues the surge. It finds a young man named Silviu (George Pistereanu) who is nearly at the end of a multi-year prison sentence. After his selfish and drug addicted mother abandoned him as an eight-year-old with his infant brother in tow, he was forced to fend for himself including criminal schemes, trying to do right by his little brother, all while making sure his sibling went to school and had a modicum of normalcy. Eventually it landed him in prison. Now just a couple weeks away from his release, he is tolerating the typical Hells and dehumanization that come with incarceration, knowing that the finish line is in sight. But his brother makes an unexpected visit, informing him that their mother has suddenly returned, and she intends to take him away with her to Italy. Silviu doesn't trust his mother even a little, with good reason, but he is in an impossible position because they are scheduled to leave the country a few days before his release, leaving him powerless behind bars and his imprisonment suddenly unbearable in a way it never was before. It forces him into drastic action in an attempt to save his brother from a similar fate.

The prison scenarios are pretty standard genre stuff, but the untenable predicament forcing his hand is well done, and the newcomer actor is very strong playing the shift from hopeful resignation to desperate anger. Nothing revolutionary here, but well made and an acutely observed main character.