Simple tasks don’t feature in either of Cristi Puiu's feature films, both of which turn what might be quick errands into mock-epic journeys. His 2005 festival favorite and Cannes "Un Certain Regard" honoree, The Death of Mr. Lazarescu, dogged its title character's journey through a succession of Kafkaesque emergency rooms on his way to an unceremonious fate. Before that, his 2001 debut, Stuff and Dough, opening this week for the first time in the U.S., charted a day-trip drug run that's no more straightforward than Lazarescu's odyssey.
Stuff and Dough begins as Marcel Ivanov (Razvan Vasilescu), a local gangster, charges the fresh-faced Ovidiu (Alexandru Papadopol) with the apparently easy assignment of transporting "medical supplies" from the city of Constanta to Bucharest, a four-hour trip. Click here to read all of Leo Goldsmith's review of Stuff and Dough.