‘Malmkrog’ Review: Waging War Between Language and Cinema

Cristi Puiu’s Malmkrog is based on 19th-century Russian philosopher and mystic Vladimir Solovyov’s prophetic Three Conversations, which, through a series of dialectical maneuvers, addresses such topics as economic materialism, nationalism, and abstract moralism. The film takes place on a snow-covered hillside, where a large pastel-pink mansion sits and Puiu turns the philosophical into drama. Sheltered in the mansion’s walls are a small group of aristocrats that includes a politician, a general and his wife, and a young countess. It all has the makings of a game of Clue, but the mysteries here are linguistic. A Christmas gathering stretches on in what seems to be real time, as the party’s high-minded philosophical and political chatter takes on an increasingly strained air. That tension is heightened by the obstacles that Puiu uses to discombobulate his audience. Malmkrog is the Transylvanian village where the film takes place, yet the characters, who speak primarily in French, talk of being in Russia. And as they discuss imminent war and the potential outcomes of violence, it’s as if the film appears to exist outside of time and place. Doorways and mirrors obfuscate who’s invol...

No other item of clothing can conjure up the sense of wellbeing that wearing your favourite

No other item of clothing can conjure up the sense of wellbeing that wearing your favourite jumper does. A good quality children’s jumper is the closest thing to wearing a hug. Forget the scratchy knits of yesteryear. Once loathed by kids everywhere on account of their itchiness, children’s knitwear is acceptably cool these days and a woolly jumper is a must-have for any kid’s winter wardrobe. But not all knitwear began life keeping a sheep warm – many modern knitted jumpers are made from cotton, acrylic and even polyester – the advantage of these fabrics being that they’re easy to care for and unlikely to shrink in the wash. And we all know how important it is that clothing for kids is machine washable and quick-drying. But if you’re after a truly authentic winter woolly, sheep’s wool is hard to beat as it’s breathable so it’ll keep little ones cosy without them overheating, while lamb’s wool and merino wool are super snuggly and worth paying more for if you’re investing in knitwear that’ll be close to sensitive baby skin. There’s so much to love about this beautiful knitted jumper, from the cute arctic fox on the front and the rainbow stripes, to the fact that it’s made from 1...