A dry — rubbed lark from the often harrowing ultra — realist territories of the Romanian New Wave, The Treasure is about almost nothing — a shaggy — dog daydream as flyaway as its protagonists' thoughts of instant wealth. Director Corneliu Porumboiu, whose 2006 12:08 East of Bucharest may still be the movement's funniest film, reportedly began this as a documentary, wherein the filmmaker would follow countryman and cineaste Adrian Purcarescu on his journey to find a legendary family treasure supposedly buried by his great-grandfather on the grounds of a country estate on the eve of the Communist takeover in 1947.
Somehow it became fiction, with Purcarescu playing a modified version of himself and Toma Cuzin enlisted as Costi, the hapless protagonist and family man whose help and funds Purcarescu enlists for his scheme.
It's a film of matter — of — fact simplicity, despite its meta-ness (Purcarescu comes off as a shifty weasel playable by John Hawkes in an American version, and there's no telling if his testy impatience and dishonesty are genuine, the actor's riff or Porumboiu's take on the real man). In what may be the quietest heist movie ever made, the logistics are everything, beginning with Costi's on — the — job lies to his boss (which inevitably entangle) and proceeding to his hiring a medium — tech metal detector, the operator of which is obligated by law to report any pre — WWII findings to the state. (The owners might net 30% of its worth in the end.) What to do, except hire the detector — for — hire outfit's shady employee off the books instead after he's promised to turn his back and report nothing?
The visuals are nearly all medium-distant, and the comedy is all textural, in the fallow beats and ellipses between the three men (the cucumber — cool detector operator, Corneliu
Written and directed by Corneliu Porumboiu. Starring Cuzin Toma, Adrian Purcarescu, Corneliu