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Politist, adj | Corneliu Porumboiu, 2009
Romania | Format: 35mm | 115 minutes
This beautifully acted, modern morality play features what may be movie history’s most absurdly protracted police sting operation, designed to catch a high school student selling drugs. Cristi, the cop assigned to the case, realizes the futility of the mission, though his attempts to convince his bureaucratic superiors meet with stern reminders not to question the letter of the law. But letters and laws—of both the legal and grammatical kind—are very much on Porumboiu’s mind as the long, nearly wordless scenes of the film’s first half give way to a shadow-stopping final act of Stoppardian verbosity in which cop and police chief (an unforgettable Vlad Ivanov) engage in an exhilarating verbal tennis match about conscience, morality and the true meaning of language.