By Sophie Esposito
Screened in Venice, mazes is the third feature film by Romanian filmmaker Bogdan George Apetri. The film explores the struggles and tribulations of two very different characters, a nun and a police inspector, in an unpredictable, witty and captivating thriller.
mazes –whose international title is Miracle– opens with a reflection: we see the tears of a nun flow through the basin of water placed in the small cell of her monastery. Thanks to the mobile phone lent to her by another sister, the young Cristina tries to make a phone call. In vain. So she takes the phone, a canvas bag and sneaks out of her convent. What prompts this afflicted nun to be driven by taxi to the hospital in the neighboring town, after a first stop to put on a light dress? Why this urgent intervention? This trajectory full of secrets intrigues the viewer.
Shedding light on the crime
She also interests the chief inspector, Marius Preda, in charge of investigating the terrible tragedy that prevented Cristina from returning to the monastery. Following exactly the path of the young woman, retracing her steps in the same places, the detective, tough and in a bad mood, seems determined to shed light on the crime, to obtain testimonies and confessions. In particular those of his suspect, a taxi driver whom he is ready to punish even if he denies his guilt. Why is this law enforcement officer acting erratically? Is our world inexorably in decline, as many secondary characters suggest during great conversations in the car, between listening to music on the car radios? Can faith still save men from their impulsive and violent actions, from their thirst for justice, from their desires for revenge? Is there still room in the 21st century for something that science and reason cannot quantify?
like a puzzle
After Unidentified (Special Jury Prize at the Warsaw Festival in 2020), mazes is the second part of a trilogy written, directed and filmed in his hometown in northern Romania by director Bogdan George Apetri, a former criminal defense lawyer. With its mirror structure, two parts that are articulated around a very violent pivotal scene, this film concerned with morality, justice and the capacity of man to do evil, combines the tension of a psychological thriller with the suspense of a detective film.
The motivations of the main characters are slowly revealed, underground connections appear through long sequence shots that distill clues, actions and confessions, like a puzzle. The story is filled with incremental revelations, each of which changes our perception of individuals, events, and the truth. So the real impact of mazes is to make us realize how much we have misunderstood. To what extent you always have to see otherwise. Because at the end of this fascinating and nuanced exploration of the human condition and beyond history as such, Apetri’s camera sets out to show what is divine in the discovery of free- arbitrator.
mazes by Bogdan George Apetri, ArizonaCastin theaters on 07/20, 1h58.