Sent on assignment to write a report on a scientist from an industrial complex, Caius, an established author, bumps into former schoolmate Cosma. Together they attend the press junket, discovering the subject of Caius’ assignment to be none other than their former university crush, Irina. The joyful reunion takes them to their old haunts, but once Cosma leaves, the remaining couple head down memory lane, spending the evening confronting each other with their conflicted shared history of love and abandonment. Between Caius’ enduring charm and Irina’s guarded independence, their romantic two-step will finally bring them requited closure.
One of the very few women directors active during Ceausescu’s regime and easily the most attuned to the female condition in Romania’s socialist society, Malvina Ursianu made her directing-screenwriting feature debut after her promising career was put on hold for a decade for political reasons. Referencing Antonioni’s early-career trilogy, The Monalisa without a Smile is a hidden gem of modernist Romanian cinema that indulges and at the same time refutes romantic love, offering instead a stoic portrait of a woman’s painful yet liberating journey to independence and personal freedom.
The Monalisa without a Smile is part of Traditional Loves @ Cinéma Galeries.
Subtitles: FR - EN
Directed by: Malvina Urşianu