If there’s a central figure in contemporary Romanian cinema, it would have to be Cristian Mungiu. The filmmaker behind “4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days” and “Beyond The Hills” has crafted patient and affecting stories about the horrors of organized power, particularly when inflicted upon young women. And his next movie, the Cannes-bound “Graduation,” looks to be another can’t-miss effort.
Starring Adrian Titieni, Maria Dragus, and Lia Bugnar, the story follows a teenager whose bright scholastic future is jeopardized when she’s assaulted. Here’s the official synopsis:
Romeo Aldea (49), a physician living in a small mountain town in Transylvania, has raised his daughter Eliza with the idea that once she turns 18, she will leave to study and live abroad. His plan is close to succeeding — Eliza has won a scholarship to study psychology in the UK. She just has to pass her final exams — a formality for such a good student. On the day before her first written exam, Eliza is assaulted in an attack that could jeopardize her entire future. Now Romeo has to make a decision. There are ways of solving the situation, but none of them using the principles he, as a father, has taught his daughter. Internationally acclaimed director Cristian Mungiu returns with a powerful and universal study about the imprecision of parenthood, the relativity of truth and the ambiguity of compromise, revealed by a father-daughter relationship. A unique and uncompromising vision.
On paper, this already sounds like it’s going to be heartbreaking stuff. “Graduation” screens in Competition at Cannes, which kicks off next week. Sorry, no subtitles on these previews, but we’ll update when those versions become available.