If I Want To Whistle, I Whistle


If I Want To Whistle, I Whistle (2011)



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Silviu has only two weeks left before his release from a hostile juvenile detention center. But when his mother, who abandoned him long ago, returns to take his younger brother away - a brother Silviu raised like a son those two weeks become an eternity. While his outcries for help fall on deaf ears, he finds himself mercilessly taunted and harassed by the other inmates. And just as Silviu's frustration evolves into full-throttled aggression, he is introduced to a beautiful social worker that he can only dream of being close to. Faced with a slew of conflicting emotions and wild with desperation, Silviu is driven to a surprising act of defiance as he makes a last grasp for freedom. -- (C) Film Movement

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Critic Reviews for If I Want To Whistle, I Whistle

All Critics (22) | Top Critics (4)

If 'The Death of Mr Lazarescu' and '4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days' represented the breakers of the so-called Romanian New Wave, this thinly competent entry is the backwash.

May 15, 2012 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
Time Out
Top Critic

The seams of the narrative start to show, and by the end you are more aware of the filmmakers' ideas than of the character's life.

Jan 5, 2011 | Rating: 2.5/5

It's a measure of the movie's success that one oscillates between two despairs -- noting the abject failure of the system and the utter futility of revolt.

Jan 4, 2011 | Full Review…

I was strongly impressed.

Sep 11, 2010 | Full Review…

If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle makes its presence felt -- albeit with a whisper, rather than a shout.

Jan 7, 2019 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

For its atmosphere, gritty realism, and acute social commentary, If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle should be applauded.

Aug 27, 2018 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for If I Want To Whistle, I Whistle

Pistereanu carries this drama with a surprising talent and intensity, but after two careful first acts with long scenes that show the character's life inside the prison using a realistic, almost documentary-like approach, the film reaches a disappointing conflict that is hard to buy.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer


With Silviu(George Pistereanu) only having 15 days left on a four year sentence at a juvenile detention center, his younger brother Marius comes to visit, informing him that their mother(Clara Voda) is going to take him to Italy with her. Isn't that great? Upset, Silviu wants to get a closer look at who is with him but has the snot beaten out of him by a guard when he gets too close to the fence. Luckily, the warden(Mihai Constantin) says this will not affect his release which is brightened considerably when Ana(Ada Condeescu) comes to interview him. In return, he flirts with her. What "If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle" wants to aim for is a feeling of slow burn and dread in its first half. Rather, like every almost every other Romanian movie I have seen lately, it is full of long, pointless scenes that go nowhere, thus ruining the mood.(Seriously, can't anybody in the country edit?) So, it is not really clear what the movie is trying to say. Since it is not apparent that the mother is either abusive or toxic, maybe Silviu will just have to get over himself before he starts a new life on the outside.

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer


I viewed this at the 2011 Cleveland International Film Festival. Character driven drama about a young man (Pistereanu) in a desperate situation. With a slow deliberate pace we see that he is coping well with life in a detention center, but for ambiguous reasons his mother makes him lose his focus on good behavior and he starts acting out for special privileges. Strangely he creates a hostage situation with the girl student he has developed a crush upon. Is it an East European art film breaking the cliches of Hollywood fare? Or is it a puzzling tale with vague motivations and something lost in translation?

Byron Brubaker
Byron Brubaker

Super Reviewer


The winner of the 2010 Berlin Silver Bear, Romanian movie, If I want to whistle, I whistle, was about a young con, Sliviu, who was about to be released from prison in 15 days, after serving 4 years, when things got complicated for him. He wanted to prevent his younger bro, who he had raised, since their Mom abandoned them, to be taken away by their mother, since he passed through that faith when he was young.It was not a movie for everybody and could not be compared with other movies related to prison, but what made it so successful was the unique way of directing by Florin Serban, and also the intense drama of the situation which drove Silviu to extreme limits. The director made an excellent portrait of Romanian prisons and the drama inside, which was pure reality with an unexpected ending.

Daisy  Maduro
Daisy Maduro

Super Reviewer

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