Great Romanian new wave director Cristian Mungiu returns with another beautifully structured film about a family mired in a suspenseful web of compromises
Teen Eliza (Maria-Victoria Dragus) has been raised by her physician father Romeo (Adrian Titieni) with the idea she will one day leave their Transylvanian town to study and live abroad. On the eve of her final exams, an assault jeopardises her pending UK scholarship, causing Romeo to pursue shady solutions to ensure her future.
If asked to name one recurrent concept in the films of Cristian Mungiu, the arguable poster boy for the so-called Romanian new wave of the last decade, one might be inclined to go with compromises. Though his past features like Beyond the Hills are rooted in the specificities of the institutions they concern, they are all broadly concerned with how you can never come away clean when dealing with broken systems.
Graduation, his latest great work, offers another suspenseful web of compromises, with an achingly sad figure at its centre: a man trying to secure better prospects for his daughter in terrible circumstances, while only serving to set off a proverbial ticking time bomb for his own life and so many others. [Josh Slater-Williams]
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