A terrific idea is inexpertly developed in Ana Vlad and Adi Voicu's promising yet uneven docu "Metrobranding: A Love Story Between Men and Objects."

A terrific idea is inexpertly developed in Ana Vlad and Adi Voicu’s promising yet uneven docu “Metrobranding: A Love Story Between Men and Objects.” Focusing on five prestige products from Romania’s communist past, the helmers adopt a postmodern approach to examine how these items were seen during the Ceausescu era. The concept of dissecting a communist society via commercial goods is marvelous, but the docu fails to capture the extent to which people’s lives were vitally wrapped up in a belief in the items and the system that created them. Docu fests and streaming sites are likely buyers.

Each product is introduced with a slogan that reveals the basic consumerist undertow of even rigid communist nations. The items — a sewing machine, a sneaker, a bicycle, a mattress and a light bulb — were seen as the glory of Romanian populist manufacturing, yet what the helmers (who were 9 years old when Ceausescu fell) seem not quite to grasp is that the memories of the elderly factory workers are not mere nostalgia, but the remnants of decades of mental inculcation from a system whose promises proved tragically false. Tech credits are problem-free.

Metrobranding: A Love Story Between Men and Objects

Romania

Production

A Mandragora production. (International sales: Mandragora, Bucharest.) Produced by Anca Puiu. Directed, written by Ana Vlad, Adi Voicu.

Crew

Camera (color, HD), Voicu; editors, Roxana Szel, Ioachim Stroe. Reviewed at Transylvania Film Festival (Romanian Days), June 9, 2011. Running time: 91 MIN.
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