You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The Senator’s Snails

Story opens with the senator (Dorel Visan) arriving in a small town in the Romanian countryside to open a hydro project.

Story opens with the senator (Dorel Visan) arriving in a small town in the Romanian countryside to open a hydro project.

He spends much of his time trying to make sure a Swiss TV crew presents a positive image of his country. On a whim, the middle-aged politician announces that he would like to eat snails the following night, and local officials press the town’s entire population into service. Sure enough, the next day the picturesque rolling hills are dotted with villagers desperately seeking snails for the senator’s dinner.

The quest for snails is turning ugly as tensions erupt among the Romanians and their gypsy neighbors.

Soon the town has a full-blown riot and, once again, the senator tries to make sure the journalists don’t hear about these social problems.

Daneliuc’s script contains an uneasy mix of broad slapstick humor and oblique political commentary, but it fails to deliver the requisite laughs or political insights. The allegory about post-Communist society isn’t even articulated fully: Essential point seems to be that social change moves at the speed of a sluggish snail and that the new political leaders aren’t all that different from the old Party bosses. Visan is suitably obnoxious as the lead character. The rest of the cast doesn’t really make much of an impression.

Shots of Romania are pleasant to look at and other tech credits are fine, if undistinguished.

The Senator's Snails

(SENATORUL MELCILOR) (Political allegory -- Romanian -- Color)

Production: An Alpha Films Intl./Ministry of Culture (Romania) production. (International sales: Media Pro, Bucharest.) Produced by Mircea Daneliuc. #Directed, written by Mircea Daneliuc. Camera (color), Doru Mitran, Petre Petrescu; editor, Melania Oproiu; music, Petre Margineanu; art direction, Petre Veniamin; costumes, Andreea Hasnas; sound, Gheorghe Ilarian. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (competing), May 20, 1995. Running time: 100 min. The Senator ... Dorel Visan The Teacher ... Cecilia Barbora The Mayor's #Secretary ... Florin Zamfirescu Michel ... Dan Chisu #With: Madeleine Thibeault, Clara Voda, Camelia Zorlescu, Anda Caropol. The latest pic from prolific Romanian helmer Mircea Daneliuc, "The Senator's Snails" offers a not-so-tasty menu that includes a comic appetizer woefully short on laughs and a ponderously weighty political allegory as the main course. Like the film's deadly escargots, pic is likely to cause major indigestion. With a plot that progresses at a snail's pace, this unsatisfying comic drama from Daneliuc ("The Conjugal Bed") will not elicit much interest outside the film fest circuit, and the metaphorical critique of post-Ceausescu Romania will likely make sense only to moviegoers in Daneliuc's home territory.

More Film

  • Q&A With Juan Villegas on ‘Las

    Argentina’s Juan Villegas on ‘Las Vegas,’ Featuring at Cannes’ ACID

    CANNES – Buenos Aires’ director-producer Juan Villegas presented his debut “Saturday” at the Venice Festival and won awards at the Rotterdam and Sarajevo film festivals. “Suicidals” screened at San Sebastián. “Idleness,” his third feature, co-directed with Alejando Lingenti, screened at the Berinale. Produced by Salvador del Solar at Argentina’s Cepa Audiovisual and by Villegas’ production [...]

  • Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Kenneth Branagh

    Christopher Nolan's New Film Casts Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Kenneth Branagh

    Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Kenneth Branagh will appear in Christopher Nolan’s upcoming film, “Tenet.” Clémence Poésy, Dimple Kapadia, Michael Caine are also joining the cast that includes John David Washington, Elizabeth Debicki, and Robert Pattinson. “Tenet,” which is being filmed on location across seven countries, is an action epic evolving from the world of international espionage. [...]

  • Cannes Placeholder Red Carpet

    Eddie Peng, Ma Sichun Join Ann Hui's 'Love After Love'

    Eddie Peng (“Operation Mekong” “The Hidden Man”) will head the cast of “Love After Love” the new film by Hong Kong’s Ann Hui. He plays opposite Ma Sichun (“The Shadow Play,” “Soul Mate”). The picture, which started shooting on Wednesday in China, is the story of a young woman from Shanghai who travels to Hong [...]

  • 'Matthias & Maxime' Review: Xavier Dolan's

    Cannes Film Review: 'Matthias & Maxime'

    If there’s one term that Xavier Dolan probably never wants or needs to hear again, it’s “enfant terrible.” Irresistible to use when the Québécois auteur was 19, rattling out of the gate with his antsy, angry lash-out of a debut, “I Killed My Mother,” it’s followed him doggedly through a series of variously spiky, variably [...]

  • Cannes: Agoraphobia Drama '522' Sells to

    Cannes: Agoraphobia Comedy-Drama '522' Sells to South Korea (EXCLUSIVE)

    Media Luna New Films has sold South Korean rights for comedy-drama “522. A Cat, a Chinese Guy and My Father” to Laon-I at Cannes. The film tells the story of George, an agoraphobic young woman who can’t walk more than 522 steps from her home. One day, her cat forces her to embark on a [...]

  • Aladdin

    'Aladdin' to Soar Above Box Office Competition Over Memorial Day Weekend

    When Disney first released “Aladdin” in 1992, Bill Clinton was just settling in to the Oval Office, “Game of Thrones” wasn’t much more than a book idea percolating in the mind of author George R.R. Martin, and Johnny Carson was wrapping up his stint as “Tonight Show” host. In some ways, 2019 feels like a [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content