Police, Adjective

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About Police, Adjective

One of the most critically-acclaimed films of the year and
a double prize winner at Cannes, POLICE, ADJECTIVE is
the new whip-smart, dryly funny comedy from Corneliu
Porumboiu (12:08 EAST OF BUCHAREST). The film is
Romania’s official entry to the 2009 Academy Awards.

Cristi (Dragos Bucur) is a young undercover cop who
undergoes a crisis of conscience when he is pressured to
arrest a teenager who offers hash to classmates. Not
wanting to ruin the life of a young man he considers
merely irresponsible, Cristi must either allow the arrest to
be a burden on his conscience, or face censure by his
self-serious superior (Vlad Ivanov of 4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS
AND 2 DAYS), for whom the word “conscience” has an
entirely different meaning.

Porumboiu approaches his story with the exacting
patience of a master ironist, culminating in one of the most
unexpected comedic payoffs in years, – an extraordinary
dissection of language that affirms his reputation as one of
the most exciting new talents in European cinema.


"A brilliant black comedy about language, power and law enforcement as deployed by bureaucrats with a totalitarian song in their hearts. Corneliu Porombiou's new work is my favorite of the films I've seen so far in this year's Cannes Film Fest. Porombiou's forlorn, often hilariously mundane chronicle of a young policeman staking out hashhish-smoking teenagers he feels, in his heart, are not really worth the time and effort, belongs with the peaks of the new Romanian cinema. These include THE DEATH OF MR. LAZARESCU and the Cannes Palme d'Or winner two years ago, 4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS & 2 DAYS."
Michael Phillips, The Chicago Tribune
"Equally impressive if far more visually streamlined is POLICE, ADJECTIVE, from the Romanian director Corneliu Porumboiu. Further proof of the strength of the Romanian New Wave, this deadpan meditation on authority and moral conscience is playing out of the main competition, despite being one of the finest films at this year’s festival."
Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
"A small masterpiece. Corneliu Porombiou has confounded the sophomore jinx with an absurdist comedy that is even drier, deeper, and more closely observed than his estimable debut. 'Police, Adjective' has something of the deadpan theatricality that characterized early Jim Jarmusch."
J. Hoberman, The Village Voice
"More evidence of the remarkable recent renaissance in Romanian cinema."
Roger Ebert, The Chicago Sun-Times
"Certainly the smartest film I’ve seen this year. 'Police, Adjective'’s smartness never draws attention to itself; it’s smart without being clever. The richness of Porumboui’s seemingly simple creation allows it to be read as a reverse policier, a social drama, an attenuated art film bordering on parody, a moral tale. The film’s intelligence does not drive itself home until in its last remarkable scenes."
Mark Peranson, Cinemascope Magazine
"An ingenious formal experiment masquerading as a naturalistic docudrama, a quietly hilarious deadpan comedy, and, of all things, a thought-provoking rumination on language. 'Police, Adjective' marks yet another stunning success for the new generation of Romanian filmmakers."
Michael Tully, Hammer to Nail
"Easily the best film in Cannes not screening in the main competition… It is nothing less than letters and laws — of both the legal and grammatical variety — that are the keys to Porumboiu’s wonderfully pliable, allegorical theme. For much of the running time, Porumboiu gives us a series of long, nearly wordless scenes of the cop pursuing his suspect, which turn out to be the carefully laid groundwork for a show-stopping final act of Stoppardian verbosity, as the cop and his superior engage in a verbal tennis match about conscience, personal morality and the true meanings of words."
Scott Foundas, LA Weekly
Henry Stewart, The L Magazine
"The cop movie you thought you were watching turns into an altogether different kind of investigation, one about function versus philosophy and that hinges on the reading of a dictionary. I’m not sure the definition of a word has ever been as simultaneously suspenseful and cruelly funny as it is here. With Porumboiu, discourse breaks the film wide open and lifts it to greatness."
Wesley Morris, The Boston Globe
Michael Phillips, The Chicago Tribune


Fipresci Critics Prize - Un Certain Regard
Cannes Film Festival 2009
Official Entry - Romania
Best Foreign Language Film - Academy Awards 2010
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Opens 12/23/2009

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Police, Adjective
RO | 2009 | U | 115 min
Dec 23, 2009

Now on DVD

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