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Graduation (Bacalaureat)
by Christine Riney

Cristian Mungiu, Romania

Romeo (Adrian Titieni) is a doctor in Transylvania, living a middle-class life with his wife and only child, Eliza (Maria-Victoria Dragus). For Eliza the future is set, a scholarship to a UK university is waiting, as long as she has good marks in her final exams. When Eliza is attacked, just before her exams, fate and moral frailty take the hopes of Eliza and her family in a different direction. Romeo, unable to accept that his daughter will suffer the same existence as he, in a corrupt and dreary country, takes steps that lead him further and further down a morally corrupt path. Eliza, with such a heavy burden on her shoulders, does what many do at that age: she falls in love. Ultimately unwilling to leave her boyfriend, she seemingly makes the same mistakes as her once idealistic parents.

This family drama is poignant and although sympathy is with this threesome, one does wonder why so many people insist on pinning their hopes on a single event. The future is driven by many such single events and perhaps if you look forward to the next decision point in life the horizon could once again be rosy however, the next one could also change everything.

Director Cristian Mungiu shared the Best Director award in Cannes this year for this thought-provoking film that has appeared in many international festivals in 2016 including Hamburg, London, Toronto and New Zealand.