Graduation (2016)
November 7, 2018 11:51 AM - Subscribe

Romeo Aldea is a doctor who regrets having settled in his native Romania, a country still teeming with corruption and back dealings. He channels his ambitions for a better life into his teenage daughter, Eliza, who is just one exam away from securing a scholarship to a prestigious British university. But when Eliza is attacked on the eve of her test, endangering her ability to pass, Romeo takes matters into his own hands to ensure her success.
posted by DirtyOldTown (4 comments total)
 
I'll post more complete thoughts later, but for the time being, let me just say that the Wikipedia entry for this film featured the confounding declaration that the film was set in "a small Romanian town." Cluj-Napoca has around 300,000 people in it. That'd be like calling Orlando, Florida a quiet seaside village.

I mean, sure, he's on the outskirts of the city proper, but come on. This isn't a story about a village. It's about people in the second-largest largest metropolitan area in Romania.

So yeah. I edited Wikipedia on that one.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:55 AM on November 7 [2 favorites]


Mungiu's films--and indeed, much of the new Romanian filmmaking--can be seen as the Eastern European answer to Ken Loach.

There's a certain grim hopelessness to these films that is very different than Loach's work though.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:15 PM on November 7


I keep thinking on Loach vs. new Romanian cinema because they have some of the same kitchen sink realism.

I think the biggest difference in outlook is that Loach films focus on bureaucracy as an instrument of class warfare, crushing regular people under its brute, unfeeling force. The new Romanian films see bureaucracy as just one symptom of a climate of corruption and moral decay that poisons people who are trapped inside, until they become compromised and complicit.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:55 AM on November 8


As quiet and modest as this might seem from the outside, this is a really harrowing film to watch in the United States in 2018. It's about the decay and rot left over when our social contract has failed and corruption is just an accepted part of everyday life.

I hope Eliza somehow passed her exams, though I accept that we are not meant to know, and are condemned instead to worry that she never escapes this cycle.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:59 AM on November 8


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