Arts

A Director Brings TikTok’s Chaotic Vibe to the Big Screen

Halfway through a recent Zoom interview with Radu Jude, the acclaimed Romanian director of “Do Not Expect Too Much from the End of the World,” he offered a glimpse into his creative process. He pulled out one of the books he’s reading, an illustrated tome about commedia dell’arte. Then he shared his screen to reveal a collection of texts and images — Van Gogh still lifes, Giacometti sculptures, Japanese haikus — saved in folders on his computer. Jude stopped scrolling at a picture he took of a sign posted on an apartment building entrance.

“It says ‘Please have oral sex so as not to disturb the other tenants,’” Jude explained, translating from the Romanian with a grin on his face.

The autodidact Jude is not above a dirty joke. His work melds tragedy and farce, drawing promiscuously from art, literature, street ads and social media to fuel his brazen visions of Romanian history and contemporary life.

Jude’s previous film, the Golden Bear-winner “Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn,” starts out with the making-of a humorously sloppy sex tape and concludes with a witch trial against one of the tape’s participants. His latest, “Do Not Expect Too Much from the End of the World,” arrives in U.S. theaters on Friday.

The black comedy follows Angela (Ilinca Manolache), a film production assistant who spends most of her 16-hour workdays in her car, shuttling clients and equipment around Bucharest, Romania’s capital. One of Angela’s gigs entails interviewing former factory employees who were injured on the clock for a chance to feature in a corporate safety video. Scenes from the present-day, shot in black-and-white, are interwoven with colorful clips of another woman named Angela: a taxi driver in the 1980s also chained to a thankless job that involves navigating the streets of Bucharest.

Ilinca Manolache as Angela, a film production assistant who spends most of her 16-hour workdays in her car, in “Do Not Expect Too Much from the End of the World.”Credit…4 Proof Film

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