Graduation (2016)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.  

Original title:  Bacalaureat

Romania/France/Belgium, 2016.  , , , , , , , , , , , .  Screenplay by Cristian Mungiu.  Cinematography by .  Produced by Cristian Mungiu.  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by Cannes Film Festival Awards 2016European Film Awards 2016.   Toronto International Film Festival 2016.

Just before writing her final exams, Eliza is assaulted on the street by an unseen attacker; her father Romeo, a doctor who deals with his estranged marriage from his unhappy wife by trysting with a younger teacher in secret, is devastated by the event and determined that she get whatever she needs to score well on her tests.  He regrets having settled in their backwater hamlet, a relic of the socialist days where all matters of bureaucracy are settled by favours and secret deals, and wants his daughter to attend university in England which she can do if she does well on her finals.  Eliza is not that sure that she can perform under the circumstances, and given her love for her motorcycle repairman boyfriend isn’t all that sure she wants to leave for school; her father is determined, however, so calls upon his buddies to make things easier for her and, as a result, is asked to pull a few strings for them in return.  What director Cristian Mungiu wants to say about a society that has left behind its socialist years without losing the corruption and cronyism that make local bureaucracy possible is explosively damning, but the manner with which he tells it barely registers above a hush.  This film has a smooth, consistent rhythm that keeps your attention for more than two hours, aided greatly by an appealing performance by  in the lead role.  There is not a single scene that Titieni does not appear in and he manages the effort without ever straining under the weight of so heavy a film, ably supported by the superb supporting cast and Mungiu’s polished direction.

The Criterion Collection:  #924

One Comment Add yours

  1. Fantastic review!


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