Directed by: Emanuel Pârvu

The title of this intricately constructed, deftly directed drama refers to the game of pick-up sticks, in which one wrong move can create havoc. In Emanuel Pârvu’s clever sophomore feature, everything revolves around a necklace given as a birthday present to teenager Magda by her father Cristi. When Magda visits a hospital where her boyfriend, an aspiring magician, is doing tricks for young patients, she gives the necklace as a gift to a child who shares her birthday. Meanwhile Cristi, the quintessential controlling parent, starts wondering why the necklace has disappeared, not knowing of Magda’s kind gesture. Soon he is accusing a nurse of theft, insisting that she be fired, and threatening to scuttle a hospital fundraiser. As the misunderstandings mount, events begin to spiral out of control as Cristi grows ever more unreasonable.

[Puts] guilt and accountability under a powerful microscope … [Pârvu’s film] is a complex weave of antagonistic forces

Ştefan Dobroiu, Cineuropa

In Romanian with English subtitles
96 min
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[Horák] matches each of the film’s periods to a different style: the 1960s to the Czech New Wave, the 1970s to normalization films, and the 1980s to documentary-like grainy footage. The stylisation enables a fine adjustment of dramatic effects”

(Martin Kudláč, Cineuropa).


  • Bulgarian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards 2018
  • Golden Rose Festival of Bulgarian film: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Critics Gild Award and Audience Award
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