Reviews of ‘Unidentified’ & ‘Mia Misses Her Revenge’ at Seattle’s [Virtual] Romanian Film Festival

The Romanian Film Festival in Seattle kicks off Friday, and if you didn’t know there was such a thing as the Romanian Film Festival in Seattle, now you do. The festival spans nine days and is entirely virtual, and features a manageable 15 films (features + documentaries) and several shorts as well.

I don’t cover a lot of film festivals, and when I do they usually aren’t foreign language-centric ones (am I allowed to say that? It seems the woke thing to say these days is “not in the English language” but who wants to say that?). But the festival caught me at the right time, having just passed a major milestone at work and arriving just before I dive deep into award season.

I watched two films off the bat, one I liked and one I… liked less.

Unidentified, directed by Bogdan George Apetri, is a crime drama about a troubled detective who has taken on a dead-end case but is also dealing with his own personal issues. Bogdan Farcas delivers an engrossing performance as a seemingly dedicated cop who, as the story progresses, is revealed to be much more damaged than you’d expect. The story could have used some tightening, but it builds to a spectacular and shocking climax that is worth the wait.

Dampening the mood a bit is Mia Misses Her Revenge, a drama by Bogdan Theodor Olteanu, which makes you wonder if all men in Romania are named Bogdan. Starring Ioana Bugarin, the movie is about a young actress who, after being slapped by her boyfriend, travels back home to be with her parents and friends. She spends the movie processing her trauma, but also trying and largely failing to convince various guys to have sex with her on camera. Bugarin is really good in the film, and it has its moments, but its delivery feels choppy and the ultimate product unfulfilling. 

I’ll take 50/50 odds to begin any film festival, and Unidentified is worth the price of admission ($7 on its own, or you can pay for a festival-wide pass).

The Romanian Film Festival runs from November 12 to November 21.

By Erik Samdahl
Related categories: Movie Reviews