Tuesday 18 November 2008

California Dreamin' (Endless) [2007]

I’m really falling in love with Romanian cinema (Romanian New Wave if you will). There is a distinct and instantly recognizable flavour to their movies (be it 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, 12:08 East of Bucharest or this one, my last movie at 2008 Kolkata Film Festival) – grim and compelling realism, bold take on troubling socio-political issues, minimalist in composition and often deadpan satires. The first and only film of Cristian Nemescu (he died in a car crash while the movie was in post-production) California Dreamin’ (Endless) is an exceedingly enjoyable yet bitingly cynical fable set during the infamous Kosovo War. Brilliantly enacted by its ensemble cast, the movie presents a small Romanian village community and a group of American soldiers carrying NATO equipments, where each of the principal protagonists are driven by their own agenda (selfish or otherwise) – the Captain of the army group whose only concern is the deadline, the soft spoken Sergeant, the servile local Mayor striving to attract investments, the stationmaster who hates anything to do with America, his physically captivating and rebellious daughter, and the school nerd secretly in love with her. Despite the jerky camera motions or scrappy editing in the last third of the film, this is a powerful movie suffused with sharply observed insight, dark but enjoyable humour, a deep sense of pathos, and masterful interjections of satire and irony. The director’s untimely death is indeed a great loss for the world of cinema.

To read a more detailed review of the movie by me, click here.

Director: Cristian Nemescu
Genre: Drama/Comedy/Political Satire/Black Comedy/Ensemble Film
Language: Romanian
Country: Romania

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