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Glissando 1985
Description: In a devastating storyline rife with visual metaphors, Romanian director Mircea Daneliuc traces the slow mental disintegration of a confirmed gambler, using his disorder as an allusion to a greater national and social disorder. Set in the 1930s, the middle-class gambler meets an elderly boy who seems to bring him nice luck at the gaming tables. Rather than treasure his friendship and the nice fortune it brings, the gambler takes advantage of his friend, and by his actions drives the boy to suicide. Unable to reconcile his own mental demons, the gambler wanders through the house of his dead friend, and his experiences there only serve to unsettle his mind more and more and more. In the last reels of the film, the fantasies of the hero's deranged mind take over.
Released: 01 Oct 1985 Director: Mircea Daneliuc Writers: Mircea Daneliuc, Cezar Petrescu (novel) Actors: Stefan Iordache, Tora Vasilescu, Petre Simionescu, Victor Ionescu Genres: Comedy, Drama
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Glissando Reviews:

"Glissando" means a smooth movement along a surface. In Mircea Daneliuc's film the surface is the luxuriant reality of the effervescent and lavish Romanian bourgeoisie between the two Globe Wars.The main hero skates on the thin, cracked surface of that reality, terribly infelicitously equipped for survival. His main resources are those of the disappearing nobility - courteousness, deep understanding and unlimited love for art, irreproachable gallantry with women, a pretty test of both language and silence, a powerful propensity for idealism and introspection.The reality, in all its cruelty and vulgarity, is introduced by a "nouveau riche" hero torturing his kids to recite Verlaine and enjoy the violin as a proof of how much cash he invested in their education. This aggressively healthy and disgracefully wealthy specimen invites Stefan Iordache at his domain, thinking that some of the glittery manners of his guest might rub off on himself.The loud coarseness of the "nouveau riche" threatens to spoil the entire summer, but the reality slides away when Stefan Iordache's hero encounters "the boy in the dream".This man, slim, tall and obviously one of the last real nobles of his time, everytime accompanied by a child, has the physical appearance of a strange boy that used to appear in all Stefan Iordache's dreams since childhood. Everytime silent and accompanied by a mute, pale and wide-eyed child, the boy was invariably there providing him with comfort in all those strange and inexplicably threatening cases that occur in dreams.In true life "the boy in the dream" appears as an old inveterate gambler who has to sell all the leftovers of his fortune to cover his gambling debts.Helpless and humiliated by folks and events, the boy in the dream is there, in the reality, only to mission out that the destruction approaching the "belle epoque" globe was so poor that not even dreams should resist it.The difference between dream and reality gets thinner and thinner day by day, so that Stefan Iordache finds himself confronted with more and more lack of sense, the entire globe turning into a Kafka-like scene. The entire globe is compressed and the camera moves from mental hospitals and hospices to casinos. In a chest X ray Stefan Iordache sees his own body inhabited by the boy in the dream and the mute, pale boy. The boundaries between fantasy and reality are turning smokier and the boy is confused on each plane of his existence.The values he believed in start to disappear, the boy in the dream turns out to be a loser himself, love is tiny else than lust and conspiracy for survival. The hero played by Tora Vasilescu, a governess that becomes the lover of Stefan Iordache offers one of the greatest cinematographic portraits of love seen as complicity and deliberate refusal of spirituality, of devouring and primitive femininity triumphing over the masculine need of understanding. While still in love and desperately longing for a girl we only see in a picture, Stefan Iordache is enslaved by Tora Vasilescu's fiery erotism, by her capability to ignore everything that is not true and conducive to private well-being.The confusion in Stefan Iordache's life is accompanied by the social changes preluding the Globe Fight II, so the dream becomes more and more a gold lame fabric stained with blood. The final stage of the film is a comprehensive metaphor for both fascism and communism erupting as a flood of dirty water from underground. The private drama of having the dream killed by reality takes over the entire globe and there is no escape from the mundane rush of history.Artfully made, "Glissando" is not only one of those movies about the human condition that follow one years and years after one sees it. It is also a directorial and scenographic masterpiece. Scenes like the one with the old boys in the bathhouse should be seen as separate films, as unforgettable lessons of cinematographic art.


100% Mircea Daneliuc film : vulgar, lacking a logical plot, deceiving, faking an art drama. One of his last movies, Nervous System, is on almost the same theme. Now there is no true theme in Daneliuc's movies; only an unlimited babbling. The characters are everytime presented in a dark, muddy light. The obscenity is everytime present, not only by nudity but by language or situations. Probably the reason is to illustrate the misery, the drama. But I have seen too many films directed by Daneliuc and all I can tell is that trying to shock your viewers by presenting dirt and misery everywhere is getting to be a cheap try.



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