May’s Trailer Recommendations

11 May, 2022

Cinema or streaming platforms? It’s a hard choice, especially now when the streaming world offers three titles that are impossible to say no to. We add to our list of recommendations a psychological thriller, a classic comedy (still relevant to the times we’re living) and two documentaries screening at One World Romania #15, which starts on Friday, May 13.

The Time Traveler’s Wife (science-fiction romantic-drama series, created by Steven Moffat)

Audrey Niffenegger’s novel of the same name was adapted into a feature film in 2009, but Steven Moffat’s new miniseries is more likely to do justice to this unexpected combination of science-fiction and romance. The premise is more than exciting: what if your husband suffered from a genetic disorder that caused him to randomly time travel? How does a relationship survive when one of the partners magically disappears and the other has no guarantee that they will return? It’s easy to get distracted by the science-fiction element, but The Time Traveler’s Wife is more about how to keep your love alive while facing life’s greatest challenges.

Cool Fact: The novel offers a unique perspective on time travel, usually seen as a superpower or as a miracle of technology in science-fiction movies. Both the novel and the series treat this ability of the hero as a handicap that constantly threatens his life.

The series premieres on May 16, on HBO Max.

Borgen – Power & Glory (political drama series, created by Adam Price)

Borgen (2010-2013) is one of the most popular Scandinavian series of all time, and now the itinerary of the idealistic (but sometimes relentless) politician Birgitte Nyborg (Sidse Babett Knudsen) resumes in a fourth season set to be released on Netflix as a separate series. The action takes place in present times with Birgitte now serving as Minister of Foreign Affairs, being elected after proposing a complex program aimed at combating climate change. But oil has been discovered in Greenland, and Birgitte will have to find smart ways to compromise between her green political ideals and the greed of several countries, including Russia, which is desperate to capitalize on those deposits.

Cool Fact: Each episode begins with an epigraph that encapsulates Birgitte’s challenges. For example: “Let China sleep, for when she wakens, the world will tremble.” (Napoleon Bonaparte)

The series premieres on June 2, on Netflix.


Avatar: The Way of Water (science-fiction, dir. James Cameron)

Critics may have ridiculed Avatar for reproducing most of the moments and conflicts in Pocahontas, but James Cameron’s 2009 epic science fiction is still the highest-grossing movie of all time and dazzled audiences with its special effects and ground-breaking 3D. We don’t know much about the long-awaited sequel, The Way of Water, but the director, this time seconded by Disney studios, seems once again determined to impress with state-of-the-art special effects. “I know one thing: wherever we go, this family is our fortress,” says Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) in the trailer, and something tells me that this fortress will be subjected to a brutal siege.

Cool Fact: To re-acquaint the public with the planet Pandora, Disney will re-release Avatar in September in a remastered version.

Coming out in cinemas on December 16.

Don’t Worry Darling (psychological thriller, dir. Olivia Wilde)

Actress Olivia Wilde has made her directorial debut with Booksmart, a critically acclaimed coming-of-age comedy, and her second film, Don’t Worry Darling, looks far, far more ambitious. Starring Harry Styles (who seems determined to make it big in cinema too, not just in music) and Florence Pugh, the film explores an experimental community in the 1950s, where men spend their days working in the mysterious factory owned by the community leader (Chris Pine), while housewives fill their time as best they can. Everything seems perfect – especially in the perpetual sunset developed by Oscar-nominated cinematographer Matthew Libatique (A Star Is Born, Black Swan) – but we’ll soon see that this is just a facade.

Cool Fact: Harry Styles was not the director’s first choice for the role he is playing, but Shia LaBeouf, only he was fired for his problematic behavior.

Coming out in cinemas on September 23.

Guilty Pleasure

Obi-Wan Kenobi (science-fiction miniseries, dir. Deborah Chow)

I know, some Films in Frame readers will find it more than bizarre that I included this trailer in the “Guilty Pleasures” section, but after watching The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett, I have the (very unpopular!) opinion that the Star Wars series are somehow aimless and only have the modest ambition to fill the gaps in the biography of some of the popular characters of the franchise. Obi-Wan Kenobi has the advantage of reactivating the franchise’s biggest antagonist, Darth Vader, and an engaging premise: after his mentoring failed and losing Anakin Skywalker to the dark side of the Force, Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor) has a chance to atone for his mistakes by training little Luke, Anakin’s son.

Cool Fact: Hayden Christensen, who plays Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader in Episodes II and III of the Star Wars franchise, gave up acting for a few years to break away from unwanted fame. In this series, Christensen returns to the most emblematic role of his career.

Worldwide premiere on May 25. The streaming service Disney+ will be launched in Romania on June 14.

Oldies, but Goldies

The Great Dictator (comedy, dir. Charlie Chaplin)

If you’re wondering what classic comedy to (re)watch, there probably isn’t a better option than this Charlie Chaplin superhit. The film came out in 1940, when Adolf Hitler had already unleashed the Nazi army on Europe, and Chaplin’s scathing satire made fun of this threat that killed millions of people. The Great Dictator can now be seen in the light of the United States’ involvement in the war in Ukraine, and with different eyes: from the comfortable distance of another continent it is easy to declare yourself against a dictator, because you have nothing to lose …

Cool Fact: The desire of the European public to laugh at Adolf Hitler made the film have no less than nine million viewers in England alone.

The Great Dictator is available on MUBI.

Romanian film
Immaculate (drama, dir. Monica Stan, George Chiper-Lillemark)

A high school student is admitted by her parents to a rehab clinic after her boyfriend (the one who actually left her with the drug addiction) ends up in jail. There is probably no better context for exploring the concept of ​​fragility, and Monica Stan and George Chiper-Lillemark’s film doesn’t stop there at all. The protagonist, Daria (Aura Dumitraşcu), finds a motley group in rehab, who will soon catapult her out of her comfort zone, which has already been messed up by her boyfriend’s arrest and now her admittance. Given the other patients’ outlandish names such as Mad Radu (Bogdan Farcaş, who has just won the Gopo Award for Best Actor for his role in Unidentified), Spartac (Vasile Pavel Digudai), Cat (Florin Hriţcu), Chocolate (Ionuţ Nicolae) and Chanel (Ilona Brezoianu), you would expect innocent-looking Daria to be easy prey for these outcasts, but that might not be the case.

Cool Fact: Immaculate won three awards at last year’s Venice Film Festival, including the Best First Film Award.

From One World Romania (the screening schedule is available here)

Taming the Garden (documentary, dir. Salomé Jashi)

You have a mighty tree in front of the house and one day someone comes and takes it from you, with roots and everything, leaving a massive hole in its place. There is something abominable about this abuse of power, depicted in Salomé Jashi’s documentary about the actions of a former Georgian prime minister who wants to populate his private garden with the most imposing specimens in the plant kingdom. Beyond the interesting logistics of moving trees taller than a ten-story building, the documentary also discusses the drama of ordinary people who have lived all their lives under the shade of a tree and suddenly find that it has disappeared.

Cool Fact: Following its Sundance world premiere in 2021, the documentary has been screened at dozens of festivals around the world.

White on White (documentary, dir. Viera Čákanyová)

Whatever ridiculous arguments deniers might give, global warming does exist. Just go ask any elderly relative and they’ll tell you that fifty years ago, snow fell over Romania at the latest in early December “and you didn’t see the ground until March or even April” (as my mother would say). A very different picture from today’s winters, isn’t it? Viera Čákanyová’s documentary is shot in Antarctica while the director was making her previous documentary, FREM, and offers a reflection on the meaning of life amplified by the white immensity, where nothing can distract you from the emptiness inside.

Cool Fact: The documentary also includes conversations between the director and artificial intelligence (or “artificial neural network”), which puts the human discourse on the meaning of life into a new perspective.

Ștefan Dobroiu
Born in Piteşti, Romania, in 1980, Ştefan is a graduate from the University of Bucharest, with a degree in Journalism and Communication Sciences. After trying his hand with financial journalism and photography (the latter still being very close to his heart), he put his career on a new path in 2006, when he became the senior editor of Cinemagia. He is also the Romania and Bulgaria correspondent for At Films in Frame he recommends monthly the newest film trailers.