At Cannes these days many people are talking about Romania, a country that entered the European Union just this year and whose film industry is currently in the midst of renewal thanks to one of the most fertile generations of filmmakers on the continent. The applause (and perhaps an award Sunday night) for Cristian Mungiu’s 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days [+see also:
interview: Cristian Mungiu
interview: Oleg Mutu
film profile], in official competition at Cannes, is confirmation of this rebirth.
Sadly, however, Romanian cinema prematurely lost one of its most promising new talents: Cristian Nemescu – whose feature film California Dreamin' (Endless) [+see also:
film profile] was selected for Un Certain Regard – died in a car accident at the age of 27 while his film was still in post-production.
With California Dreamin' the young Nemescu leaves us with an unconventional “will”, fully of irony and disappointment yet without the scepticism that characterises some of Eastern European cinema. On the contrary, it is full of love for life and faith in the future.
During the war in Kosovo, a NATO convoys stops at the train station of a small, fictitious Romanian village. A cultural conflict/encounter takes places, representing the relationship between the most economically advanced countries and the rest of the world. The stationmaster (Razvan Vasilescu), a man who lost his parents to the Communist regime, waited in vain for 50 years for the Americans to save them and now wants to make them pay, by blocking the train that is transporting a highly strategically valuable radar.
The charlatan mayor instead sees the arrival of Captain Jones (Armand Assante) as an opportunity to turn his village around economically and organises a huge party. In the meantime, a love story unfolds between the young sergeant McLaren (Jamie Elman) and the stationmaster’s daughter Monica (Maria Dinulescu).
In an immense game of anticipation and suspension, Nemescu’s anti-capitalism/anti-Americanism hides sincere affection ("The most important product of the United States is…seduction", they say in the film) and the film flows comically for just over two and a half hours.
Producer Andrei Boncea in fact wanted to the leave the director’s unfinished version and added the world "Endless" to the title because no one knows what the final edited version would have been.
(Translated from Italian)
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