Magazine article Screen International

'Graduation': Review

Magazine article Screen International

'Graduation': Review

Article excerpt

Dir/scr/prod: Cristian Mungiu. Romania/France 2016. 123 mins.

If any additional evidence was required to confirm Cristian Mungiu as one of the leading European filmmakers of the day, here comes Graduation, his most mature film to date. This portrait of parental dilemma which erupts out of the blue but is deeply anchored in Romanian soil is a universal story which brings with it strong prospects for both prestige and market success.

The director of the Palme D'Or winning 4 months, 3 weeks, 2 days and the Cannes directors award for Beyond the Hills takes an introspective and earnest approach to the story of Dr Romeo Altea (Adrian Titieni) a calm, respectable member of society. He wants the best for his daughter, Eliza (Maria Dragus), a brilliant high school student who has already been awarded a scholarship to study psychology in UK, and he will do anything in his power to keep her on track. All she has to do is pass the graduation exams.

But on the morning of the first session, someone throws a stone through their window at home. Then Eliza is attacked as she crosses a building site next to her school, almost raped and has one arm sprained. The doctor rushes to the police and gradually, as he tries to make sure this will not affect his daughter and jeopardise her future studies, he begins to make moral compromises, although he has thus far in life kept some of his arrangements tacitly under cover, like his mistress, Sandra (Malina Manovici).

Once he starts looking for ways to ensure his daughter's grades are up to the required level by contacting friends of friends that might do something about it, there is no way back for Dr Altea. …

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