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Morgen: Film Review

The Bottom Line

This nicely-acted, quietly-executed political satire speaks a universal language.

Venue

AFI Fest

Directed and written by

Marian Crisan

Starring

Andras Hathazi, Yilmaz Yalcin, Elvira Rimbu

Set against the stanch bureaucratic backdrop of international border politics, "Morgen" is an oddball, gently-observed, fish-out-of-water tale that leaves an impression despite its languid, low-key tone.

While out fishing, Nelu, a middle-aged, mild-mannered supermarket security guard (Andras Hathazi) lands more than he bargained for when he encounters Behran, an illegal Turkish immigrant (Yilmaz Yalcin) ducking Romanian-Hungarian border police.

Despite the tricky language barrier (the impish, bearded Turk’s lines aren’t even accompanied by subtitles), Nelu offers the cold, hungry man refuge back at his rural farmhouse, much to the irritation of his bossy wife (Elvira Rimbu). In the process of trying to figure out how to smuggle his unintended guest across the border into Hungary, Nelu and Behran end up forming a curiously engaging bond.

Allowing his story to unfold in extended wide-angle shots that underscore the unhurried daily regimen of Nelu’s small-town existence, writer-director Crisan puts an accessible human face on the subjects of politics and  xenophobia.

While it recalls Danis Tanovic’s Oscar-winning No Man’s Land (depicting the 1993 war between Bosnia and Herzegovina) in its examination of the folly of international conflict, Morgen takes a less biting approach to its brand of satire, allowing its universal truths to unfold organically, with the patience of a seasoned fisherman intent on landing the big catch.    

Production companies: Slot Machine, Mandragora, Katapult Film
Cast: Andras Hathazi, Yilmaz Yalcin, Elvira Rimbu
Director-screenwriter: Marian Crisan
Producer: Anca Puiu
Director of photography: Tudor Mircea
Production designer: Robert Koteles
Costume designer: Alexandra Ungureanu
Editor: Tudor Pojoni
No rating, 100 minutes