Poppy Field (2020)

83% – Critics

Poppy Field Storyline

“Poppy Field” follows the struggle of a young Romanian gendarme, Cristi, who tries to find the balance between two apparently opposing parts of his identity: that of a man working in a macho hierarchical environment and that of a closeted gay person who tries to keep his personal life a secret. While his long-distance French boyfriend, Hadi, is visiting him, Cristi is called in for an intervention at a movie theatre, where an ultra-nationalist, homophobic group has interrupted the screening of a queer film. After one of the protesters threatens to out him, Cristi spirals out of control.—ICON production [ro]

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Poppy Field Movie Reviews

A very clever film

The film threatened to be one of those two-parters that quickly slide into boring irrelevance. All the elements were there, the closeted Romanian guy, his Kabylie boyfriend from France and a fleeting visit from a nosey sister who thought her brother was going through a “gay phase”.

The two lovers are happy together but there are problems. Hadi wants to go out and about but closeted Cristi wants to keep their relationship, indeed Hadi’s existence, under wraps. We are not aware of Cristi’s job during the scenes in the flat where the two guys are staying so his reluctance to risk an outing (in both senses of the word) is difficult to understand. Even when the film moves unobtrusively to Cristi’s work, we are not sure what it is as the shots showing him do not at first reveal his gendarme uniform.

The unit is going to a cinema whose showing of a film about lesbians has been disrupted by a load of nationalistic god-botherers. Although both the police and the gendarmes try to appear neutral on the surface, when they feel they are not being overheard they make hateful and homophobic statements, Cristi included.

One of the gay guys implies that he will reveal Cristi’s orientation leading to a confrontation that is only solved by long negotiations with the cops.

This much is revealed in the storyline provided by IMDB so not a spoiler.

Cristi feels that this is a disaster and we watch his feeling of doomed terror for the rest of the film.

The cleverness of the film was to concentrate on the dynamic at work rather than that of the relationship. Relationship films have been done to death. However, films whose gay characters interact in a macho and illiberal environment such as the police or gendarmerie have not.

Conrad Mericoffer played a good role as Cristi, a man who senses that his life is spinning out of control. He well portrayed the increasing desperation of the character needing to know the results of the confrontation. He was convincing in the earlier, tender scenes with lover Hadi and just as real in his role as macho man conforming to canteen culture.

The film was a compact eighty minutes long and was just right. We are left with a final comment from his boss that might mean something or might not. Had all the cover up that Cristi had maintained over his life at work been rent away? We shall never know.

An Unbearable Reality

After watching this film I wanted to scream, and I even hit the wall, as I saw an almost unbearable reality. A great deal of the world is homophobic, and the hatred runs deep. Basically the story is simple. A closeted gay policeman is confronted by a baying crowd of Nationalist/Anti-Gay protesters in of all places a cinema in Bucharest that is showing a gay themed film. Corseted in his own conflicted position he is confronted by a man who knows him ( perhaps a former lover ) and he falls apart. End of spoilers. The scenario and the acting are above criticism and the direction is superb, given the confined space of most of the action. That it is set in a cinema confronts us as spectators with the very real fact that for most of its existence film itself has endorsed and colluded with homophobia, and that during its history positive imagery on screen has been condemned and forbidden. A must see film that challenges, and that the whole world should see, but in many countries will not. An unbearable reality in itself.

Elusive drama

Somewhat interesting story of a gay police officer caught in a conflict during a police interaction with homophobic radicals in a gay movie theater. The conflict is that there is someone in the theater who knows this police officer & that he is gay & there is a minor altercation between the two. The rest of this very short film contains extremely vague, seemingly purposeful, one on one dialogue between various police officers ending with the most unusual, puzzling and, of course, vague line in the film. In all honesty, I am not at all sure what this is trying to say, but it is somewhat interesting contemplating it’s possible various meanings. The acting is solid, but the title is also unclear.