- Director: Eugen Jebeleanu
- Writer: Ioana Moraru
- Producer: Velvet Moraru; Rodrigo Ruiz Tarazona; Cosmin Fericean; Cornelia Popa
It's one of those films you'll either 'get' - or, you won't. What it will most certainly do is to make many a person's blood boil...for quite a few reasons.
If you can feel empathy and sympathy for a gay, closeted [rather toxic] policeman who attacks a former lover to save face in front of his colleagues...then, you will get this film. Internalised homophobia is as complex as it is reprehensible. Poppy Field is less complex and more reprehensible...if Cristi [the gay-bashing homo] had been portrayed with a sliver of compassion, regret, shame...then, maybe, you could feel something other than fury and disgust towards him. But no...this man is toxic, difficult...an obdurate thug.
Some may say he's 'wresting' with his sexuality...what a load of bollocks. The film opens with him quite happily wrestling with his boyfriend's bollocks [figuratively speaking], that boyfriend disappears entirely from the film soon after...why? It was a perfect way to frame the film...happy homo, bad homo...and, back to being the happy, hypocritical homo!
Not only does this film lack structure, the constantly moving hand-held camera distracts more than it informs. Then, slap, bang in the middle of the mayhem everything stops with a ludicrously long conversation about a lost dog - it makes no sense whatsoever. Padding for a threadbare script.
So...what is Eugen Jebeleanu & [writer] Ioana Moraru trying to say? Nothing subtle nor complex...Romanian police are homophobic, religious nutcases are homophobic...Romania is homophobic...no surprises there. Keep your head down and become a noxious chameleon...remember 'don't ask, don't tell' - this is exactly why that policy was so dangerous.
This film does a massive disservice to all those people who are fighting for equality in Romania. If Cristi cannot stand up and be the man that he is...then, what good is he? The same can be asked of this film...without even a glimmer of hope, what good is it?
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.