21 Jun 2024

Moromeții 3. Inner Turmoil

The final episode of the Moromeții saga represents the farewell that this story needed.

Stere Gulea's vision is unique in current Romanian cinema. A drama and love story with political undertones, "Moromeții 3" (fresh out of the oven for its world premiere at TIFF) concludes the history written by Marin Preda. The year is 1954, Stalin has recently died – and camps need to be recalibrated – while Vera (Olimpia Melinte) and Niculae (Alex Călin) live their tumultuous romance in an oppressive system where you either collaborate or pay the price.

The difference can hinge on a chance. "I stopped in Bucharest." / "And I, at the canal." – a short dialogue containing harsh truths, poignantly written by Gulea, who signs a screenplay based on his own notes and Preda's journal, because he felt there was more to say, that the ending could only be rounded out this way.

Vera is married and Niculae finds himself, against his heart, having to share her. For now, but the "for now" can turn into "forever" at any moment. He accepts this situation because, in life, things are never simple. For him, she represents a muse, even if imperfect. Returning, as a successful man, to his native village for a propaganda action related to collectivization, the youngest Moromete family member feels the inner struggle of someone caught between his own conscience and external impositions.

Suspicion, the fear of misstepping, are everywhere. Only his example, the person he loves the most, somehow remains untouched. But what can Ilie do now? He is old and no longer understands the era – or perhaps just doesn't accept it. How can you adapt when, behold, your reference points start being tainted with cowardice, lies, and conformity? Who will Niculae become?