Sitting around a table set for a feast in a manor house nestled in the snowy Transylvanian mountains, guests engage in an increasingly passionate exchange of ideas on subjects such as good and evil, progress and morals, and even death and the Antichrist. The characters mainly speak in French, since this was the language of the Eastern European aristocracy of the 19th and early 20th centuries. They are attended by servants as an elderly and seriously ill colonel lies in a room somewhere else, and worrisome sounds are heard coming from other rooms.
Cristi Puiu, the initiator of the Romanian New Wave, has based this film on the literary work Three Conversations by Vladimir Solovjov (1853-1900), the most influential Russian philosopher, theologian and mystic of the 19th century. The work foretells the coming of great turmoil: the consolidation of the peoples of East Asia against Europe and the Antichrist in the form of the President of the United States of Europe – and later, the emergence of a world monarch. Solovyov wanted to expose the deceptive face that hides the abyss of evil, and so Puiu expects the viewer to be able to engage intellectually. Encouraging news for aesthetes – Puiu’s films are a great testament to the fact that he studied painting before turning to cinema.
Foreword by the programme curator: Romanian New Wave ideologue Puiu waits for the Antichrist. And he is awaited with a dispute that is radical for cinema.