The Romanian new wave is arguably the most interesting current movement in modern cinema. Of those directors working under this banner, Corneliu Porumboiu is possibly the most interesting. With award-winning films such as 12:08 East of Bucharest and The Treasure, he has wowed audiences on the festival circuit. His new film, The Whistlers, is his most ambitious and audacious yet.
Cristi (Vlad Ivanov) is a downtrodden cop who finds himself on the wrong side of the law when he joins the Bucharest crime syndicate he’s meant to be investigating. After being summoned to the Canary Islands by the mysterious Gilda (Catrinel Marlon), who he’s fallen head over heels for, he sets about learning the ins and outs of the complex whistling language used by the gang. Cristi must tread a fine line in order to pull this off.
The Whistlers is an elegantly handled pulp crime drama which has political and bureaucratic corruption firmly in its sights. Porumboiu riffs off directors like Tarantino to create a stylish and sexy film noir. Whilst the lines between good and bad are blurred, the authorities are always quietly watching. Ivanov does hangdog perfectly whilst Marlon is an assured femme fatale. The Whistlers is a sardonic and deeply mischievous triumph.
The Whistlers screens again at London Film Festival on 10 October.