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The Other Irene, based on real life events.
by Erik Sean McGiven on May 11, 2010
Based on real life events The Other Irene is an
adaptation that fails to structure a compelling story. In an attempt to be faithful to actual
accounts the film looses much of its momentum in redundant long scenarios that
had little dramatic inertia.
The story is about the mysterious disappearance of Auel's
wife Irene and his obsession to find out what actually happened to her. When she leaves to accept a three-month job
he counts the days until she returns.
She returns a different woman, bubbling yet materialistic wanting to
duplicate the luxuries she knew in Cairo. Auel puts off her demands to buy appliances
for their home. Then suddenly she goes
off again and Aurel continues his mundane job working as a security night guard
at a large shopping mall. This is some
of the best footage as it reveals his indecision and later his denial and his
When he meets with her travel agent inquiring about her
arrival flight, he is told that his wife has committed suicide. This is the best-directed scene in the movie
as it starts out as a normal inquiry and ends so devastatingly. When the agent, on the phone, receives the
bad news, the tension stretches out, as she must decide how to tell him. When told, Auel is stunned showing no emotion
what so ever. He then goes to the
airport and waits for his no-show wife with flowers in hand.
He continues his night job and by day he searches for his
wife and what happened to her. There are
suspicions, forms to be filled out, and an endless string of bureaucratic dead
ends. When her mummy-wrapped body
returns, he denies that she's his wife.
The characters in this film are not that likeable. They appear to be victims of a suppressive
society that goes through life existing rather than living. Emotions, whether of happiness or grief, are
dulled as if caring too much is a sin.
If the characters are that indecisive about what they feel and want,
then the audience is likewise uncertain about investing in their story.
The film raises many questions and the mystery remains
unsolved as the film ends. For the main
character, the husband, itís a tragedy. Was it one of his own making? Was it he who drove her away? Was she really dead? If the film had started with these questions
it would have made the story much more engaging. Maybe he was oblivious and didn't know her at
all. Thus the most tantalizing part of this film is never told. What was "The Other Irene" actually
like? And that's the real tragedy, we
never find out.
CREDITS: Starring: Andi Vasluianu, Simona Popescu, Dan
Astilean, Doru Ana, Dana Dogaru, Carmen Lopazan, Vlad Ivanov. Camera: Vivi Dragan Vasile, Editor: Dana
Bunescu, Production Designer: Mihada Poenaru, Costumes: Svetlana Mihailescu,
Sound: Dana Bunescu & Constantin Titi Fleancu. Produced by Vivi Dragan Vasile, Executive
Producer: Velvet Moraru, Screenplay: Ileana Munean & Mircea Staiculescu,
Directed By: Andrei Guzsniczki. 90
Minutes. Reviewed at the South East
European Film Festival, Los Angeles.
February 28, 2021