The Romanian New Wave’s answer to the road movie, Gabriel Achim’s The Last Day consists of a long nighttime drive in the tedious company of a small-town mayor, a loquacious blowhard whose tin-pot tyrant status keeps his companions largely in thrall. Said companions are a morose childhood friend of the mayor’s who plans to become a monk, and, driving in convoy, an obsequious police officer, and the president of the town’s Christian Youth League.

The two cars and a dining table at the mayor’s place form the setting for the vast majority of the running time, making the film largely dialog-based (see it with subtitles unless your Romanian is fluent). All the usual New Wave ingredients are here – long, ponderous takes, lashings of gloom, the specter of post-communist corruption, and mordant wit – including a very funny incident with a hitchhiker.

By Debbie Stowe

DIRECTOR: Gabriel Achim

STARRING: Doru Ana, Mimi Branescu, Adrian Vancica, Adrian Ciglenean

ON AT: Cinemateca Eforie, Cinema Pro