ManIFF 2015: Kyra Kyralina - Cinema Review

'poses a very floaty question, one you feel doesn't really have a great deal of interesting mileage'

Based on Panait Istrati's Romanian novel of the same name, Dan Pita's adaptation of Kyra Kyralina brushes over many of the issues the text seems to want to consider, without ever leaving a lasting impression on any of them.

At the centre of this is a consideration about debauchery and aestheticism, something similar to that seen in Joris-Karl Huysmans' novel Against Nature. Whilst Pita's protagonists, Kyra (Iulia Carstea) and the young version of Dragomir (Stefan Iancu) are not active shut-ins, as Huysmans' protagonist was, they are veritably pinned into their home, inviting 'suitors' round for evenings of food, wine and dancing.

Similarly to Huysmans though, there's no answer to the questions posed. You feel that Kyra and Dragomir are on the side of 'right' as opposed to their abusive, absent father, but there's a clear question posed around the fact that at least he makes something, whilst the two youngsters seem happy to party the night away in the company of their mother. It's a very floaty question though, one you feel doesn't really have a great deal of interesting mileage.

It's not helped by Pita's presentation, which veers on the staid side. 'Debauchery' to the youngster's side of the family seems to mean a bit of wispy dancing and too much food. It's hardly Caligula and the intrigue in the lifestyles and the sexualities on show isn't drawn out enough. Someone a bit more risque, Von Trier, say, would have had a field day with some of the things that are whispered here.

There are some elements of note. It feels as though around half of the film is shot through mirrors, with Pita finding interesting new ways to create introspective angles. The older Dragomir (Corneliu Ulici, who smolders well) tells the story in flashback, occasionally wandering through the past scenes as if he is actually there. It's a good idea but, again, a little half cocked. Once the youngsters are freed from their own apartment, Pita's lens finds some outside interest, but that and the rest of positives are too little to recommend Kyra Kyralina, which needed more verve.

Manchester International Film Festival runs from 10th - 12th July 2015 at the AMC Manchester Great Northern Warehouse. More details are available on the ManIFF website.

By Sam Turner. Sam is editor of Film Intel, and can usually be found behind a keyboard with a cup of tea. He likes entertaining films and dislikes the other kind. He's on , Twitter and several places even he doesn't yet know about.

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