Joint winner of Best Director at Cannes 2016, Cristian Mungiu returns with his finest work since his sublime Palme d’Or winner 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days with Graduation, an intelligent, elegant, morally ambiguous, and quite frankly brilliant tale of corruption and questioning whether it can ever be justified – even in the most extenuating of circumstances.
A masterfully controlled Adrian Titieni is Romeo, a compromised father prepared to go to any lengths to secure a brighter future for his prodigious daughter Eliza (Maria-Victoria Dragus) after her university scholarship is placed in jeopardy by an attempted sexual assault. Asking a powerful friend for one favour quickly leads to Romeo’s moral slide into a world of old-boys-club back-scratching – ostensible pillars of society excuse their shady dealings with “I don’t normally do this, but… “. They are only fooling themselves.
Highly reminiscent of Michael Haneke’s masterwork Caché, Graduation stands right alongside it, as the perfectly paced and structured script takes us on a murky journey of desperate bargaining and ethical compromise – when it comes to those we love, how far is too far? Is a tainted success better than an honest failure? Mungiu refuses to give us easy answers, instead allowing his observational lens to sit back and present, with impeccable detail and without prejudice, the words and actions of his characters – moral judgement must come from within.
Graduation‘s manifold themes and narrative threads hang together as a rich, absorbing tapestry about the choices we must make in a difficult world – repeat viewings may yet reveal the full picture of this meticulously crafted masterpiece.
CAST: Adrian Titieni, Maria-Victoria Dragus, Lia Bugnar, Malina Manovici, Vlad Ivanov
DIRECTOR: Cristian Mungiu
WRITER: Cristian Mungiu
SYNOPSIS: When Romeo’s daughter is assaulted, her trauma places at risk her place at a prestigious university – Romeo must pull some strings to ensure her success.