The first rule about not being in Cannes is that you can still talk about Cannes.
Romanian director Cristian Mungiu comes to Cannes this year with Graduation, and earns yet more, warranted, admiration with the film’s great reception. He won the Palme d’Or in 2007 with his magnetic, dark drama 4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days. Like that movie, Graduation is pitch-perfectly psychological, bleak, and stomach-churning in places. With two acclaimed performances by Adrian Titieni as a surgeon, and Maria Dragus (from Michael Haneke’s The White Ribbon) as his teenage daughter, part of the film’s plot revolves around their turbulent relationship. Intelligent, tough to forget, structurally moral and moving, the comparisons to Haneke are not far-fetched at all.
A second Palme d’Or is certainly not out of the question. The confident, prospering breeze of strong Romanian cinema won’t hurt its chances a bit. Mungiu’s screenplay is rich, well-paced, intricate, as his directing. This is in contention for most prizes for sure, and is certain to come away with at least one.
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