IDFA 2014 #7: Brick in the Wall. 7/10

Bittersweet portrayal of a family building a grand villa in their Romanian village. Now nearing 40 years, this is truly a never-ending story. A couple in their 60s started working on their grand castle in 1973 and the pace of construction continues at a snail’s pace, maybe 3 bricks per day. The son (who has his father’s schnozz) comes to help but no progress is made; meanwhile, they live in a 1-rm hut. The wife tells us that she suggested that they get engaged after they had kids. They finally did, in 1993, and are still engaged. He seems to like long-term projects.
We find out afterwards from the director that the husband was once known as the best builder in the village (Vama?) and constructed many houses. He is such a devout atheist that he wanted to build their house taller than the new church, but the church got finished first and now he’s too ashamed to finish. He also promised his wife she could have a religious wedding in the house when he finished it so that’s another reason to postpone. Absurd story.
IDFA #8: A French Laundry. 3/10
A 90-yr old Tunisian Jew shows us his one-man laundry in Nice and reflects on the past. He is a firm believer in hard work and tells us all sorts of stories about how hard he has worked in his life and that he used to be a jeweller whoraked in the cash but now it’s all gone. He was friends with an SS officer in Tunisia who helped save him from the others at the end of the war because “You’re not really Jewish.” Very run- down shabby place with one washing machine and one centrifuge and flaking paint. We see him make the decision to finally retire and watch the renovation of his building.
But boring!!! Endless shots of his right cheek from behind, then left, then right, then left. Of people at the beach from behind. Of people walking past his shop window. Dull dull dull. Too bad, the story was good, but the telling was not captivating.
Best quote: “Je ne veux pas me caisser les bonbons.”


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