If you have lived in Cluj long enough, you have probably heard of Mircea Bravo. He is a YouTube star with a sitcom that is more popular than many of the shows on television.
Recently, Mircea Bravo came out with a feature film, which can be seen in Romanian cinemas. While some episodes of his sitcom are subtitled in English, the film, Mirculica, most definitely is not.
From the opening credits, we can see that this is not a festival film, instead of being made to please a jury, Mirculica was created to please an audience. Instead of the usual disclaimer, created with the support of a government institution (in Romania’s case, the CFC), this film says that it was made by the grace of God.
A few of the favorite characters from the sitcom are there. The grandmother helps of course, but the key characters are Mircea, his mother, his lazy uncle, and his new boss and a new girlfriend. Another character introduced in the film is the boss’s wife.
Now, if you don’t speak Romanian to at least B1 standard, you might miss a lot of the jokes. You might not know that the annoying casanova is Mircea’s uncle, or the woman who Mircea has to drive around is the boss’s wife. It might not make sense why he puts up with these two characters. And, you might even miss the swear words and off-color humor that make this film rated 15. (Note, even if you are fluent in Romanian, you might be puzzled as to why this film is rated 15 when Metronom is only 12).
The 15 rating probably won’t hurt the film much because, while there is some danger, many of the jokes would go over the head of younger viewers. When he buys a coffee, when he gets in trouble with the mob, when the boss suspects the wrong thing… all kinds of subtle humor that younger viewers might miss and become confused with. But if you have reached a certain age and a certain mastery of the language, you will understand what everyone is laughing about.
Summary with spoilers in italics:
In the film, Mircea takes exams to become a high-level functionary; Procurator. Yes, a job title so fancy that most people don’t even know exactly what it means. We all know, with this being a comedy, that the exam cannot go well. So, instead, he ends up with what his father calls a woman’s job. Meanwhile, he meets a nice lady at a coffee shop, and somehow they hit it off without the help of his grandmother.
The biggest problem with the new job are the corrupt boss, his unfaithful wife, and his uncle who might ruin everything for Mircea. Mircea’s sense of decency eventually gets the better of him, but it could cost him his life. Meanwhile, his boss and his mother conspire to ruin Mircea’s love life by sending him away to Bucharest. The only person who can save Mircea, his relationship, and his stupid uncle is Bunica, Mircea’s super-powered grandmother. – Summary by F. Pop, our culture editor
Okay, you can look now, the spoiler is over.
In case you still don’t know who Mircea Bravo is, here is a classic subtitled episode with him and his grandmother, and the late grandfather character:
The humor has changed over the years, but you can see by that webisode why the series is so popular. Of course, it might not win any awards, it is not pretentious enough for that. But it wins over the audience and teaches us at the same time. (Many of the episodes have obvious product placements, but they are entertaining and the story is masterfully woven around the commercial).
Mircea Bravo is recommended for viewers over 15 with at least a B1-level understanding of the Romanian language, as well as learners who are willing to struggle in order to learn something. Oh, and it also helps if you know that Mircea is from Cluj, as that is where some of the action takes place.