Eugen Jebeleanu’s feature debut was inspired by real-life events, echoing religious fundamentalists in Bucharest who protested a screening of the Hollywood film, The Kids Are All Right. But his Poppy Field is seeking more complex universal truths that include how the corrupting forces of homophobia and hypermasculinity are deployed by those who wield power.
Cristi (Conrad Mericoffer), an officer with the Romanian military police, is hosting his sexy boyfriend from France when his team is called to a “situation” at the screening of a mainstream queer film. As Jebeleanu’s camera deftly moves between documentary-like protest scenes and the interactions between Cristi and his fellow cops, we come to understand the emotions and power dynamics underlying the police officer’s handling of the situation.
In Poppy Field, it is not only misguided zealots shouting “Abomination!” that create the problem; it’s the machismo that holds the thin blue line together, and the anger that simmers underneath.