Radu Jude, whose previous film Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn won the Golden Bear at the 2021 Berlin Film Festival, is back with a cutting satire full of twists, turns, and speed bumps.
Do Not Expect Too Much from the End of the World
Borrowing an aphorism from the Polish poet Stanisław Jerzy Lec for its title, Do Not Expect Too Much from the End of the World, Radu Jude’s latest, touches on labour, exploitation, death, and the new gig economy. Part comedy, part road movie, part montage, it centres around Angela (Ilinca Manolache), a bombastic production assistant working 16-hour days while, on her own time, honing a quippy online brand featuring her alter ego, a self-pronounced friend of misogynistic media personality Andrew Tate, currently facing human trafficking and other charges in Romania.
Angela’s day-to-day rigmarole features an outrageous encounter with the great Uwe Boll, who in 2006, after unfavourable reviews, infamously challenged his critics including Quentin Tarantino and Roger Avary to a boxing match. This is interwoven with clips — sometimes slowed so you can see what the government censors missed — of Lucian Bratu’s 1981 Angela Moves On, depicting the life of a female taxi driver (played by Dorina Lazăr, who also features in Jude’s film) driving around Ceaușescu’s Bucharest.
Hitting speed bumps that reveal the current state of modern Romanian roads, not to mention apathy to civics and sprawling corruption, Angela drives around the city casting a workplace safety video commissioned by a company for whom Doris (Nina Hoss), a descendant of Goethe, is the head of marketing. Driving us, Jude — always on the vanguard — brings a larger focus to the question of image production, bringing another of Lec’s aphorisms to mind: those who are ahead of their time often have to wait for it in uncomfortable quarters.
Official Selection, 2023 Toronto International Film Festival
Content advisory: sexual content