by José Sarmiento Hinojosa
Corneliu Porumboiu’s latest film starts with a fascinating story. Laurentiu Ginghina, a friend of a filmmaker, has been designing a new sport, very similar to football, for years, after an accident that stopped him from practicing the sport and almost (according to him) cost his life. In several conversations with Porumboiu, the Romanian man explains the obsessive philosophy behind his work: to make a completely fluid game in where the ball could run completely free. So, during the 70 minutes of the film, we’re witness of the many variations of the game and the obsession of Ginghina to improve his ideas and create the perfect sport.
Ginghina could be the mere representation of the post-fallout of Romanian regime’s citizen: a man full of dreams, who traveled to the land of opportunity, failed to land a job and work visa, and returned to his country to serve as a government official, a bureaucrat with a boring life. But Ginghina, with his dream of creating a new sport whose rules are forever changing and contradicting themselves, it’s also the representation of a failed utopia. In his game, we are witness of the paradoxical course of some socialist regimes: set a number of restricting rules on life in order to achieve maximum freedom. Ginghina plays with the rules once and again, and in each iteration, the rules are more restricting, and complex, until his vision of a game where the ball and players could be absolutely free falls apart.
In one of the latest scenes of the film we travel an empty highway towards civilization. It’s a beautiful scene, since it breaks out the lonely state of its lead character, but also the overall feeling of a country full of expectations, a Romania that, being integrated to the European Union, dreamed of progress and welfare, but whose dreams lay lifeless in the thick mud of ungovernability and corruption. Porumboiu has found a perfect excuse, as always, to talk about the state of a country in limbo, in this infinite football game that is life.
Director: Corneliu Porumboiu
Director of Photography: Tudor Mircea
Editing: Roxana Szel
Sound Design: Alexandru Dragomir
Sound: Osman Petrisor