Slamdance 2013 Review: DOMESTIC Finds Its Bliss
Once the dog's fate has been decided we switch gears to Mr. Lazar's apartment where he is talking with his daughter Mara (Adriana Titieni) about whether the joke she is trying to tell him is actually a joke or a riddle. Mrs. Lazar (Clara Voda) arrives with a live hen, which she puts in the tub. The conversation turns to the topic of who is going to kill it. Mara declares she'll do it if she gets paid, and by the end of another masterfully composed one-shot scene, the bathroom wall in the background has been comically sprayed with hen's blood.
As much as we have seen a certain cruelty or disdain for animals, what's so wonderful to watch unfold in Domestic is the eventual love and kindness each male lead of the film finds in an animal companion. After the accidental death of Mara, Mr. Lazar finds solace with her cat, Tzitzi. Toni (Sergiu Costache), who was in charge of taking the dog to the shelter, takes the mutt in when he comes sniffing back home. Mr. Mihaes (Gheorghe Ifrim) brings home a rabbit, whom his son Alin (Dan Hurduc) gets attached to. When he kills it for Christmas dinner, Alin is beside himself and adopts an injured, pigeon which his father eventually falls for. There is a light, humorous touch to Sitaru's film, its verbiage is off the charts with every family or neighbor talking a mile a minute. But since most scenes are just one setup, nothing feels chaotic. We're invited into each family's world, allowed to wander through the frame, spot each little detail of these people's lives, laugh and love with them. This is such a testament to Sitaru, his cinematographer Adrian Silisteanu, production designer Cristian Niculescu and especially the wonderful ensemble of actors.
Domestic is a small film with a big heart and a quick, existential wit (take note of the Christmas Dinner scene which includes a conversation on how UFOs are probably tourists from the future). Immediately and continuously charming through its running time, Sitaru gives us a lovely look into the domestic life of both animals and humans. As it is in the world of Domestic we may not be so different after all.