Occident

“A Romanian comedy?” I heard someone asking in disbelief after the film was over. And truly, the main memories evoked by the words “Romanian New Wave” are usually tedious long shots of aborted babies and people walking. It is no wonder then that it is hard to believe that one of the founding films of the new wave, Cristian Mungiu’s (yes the one who bagged a Palm d’Or with “that abortion film” as critics like to call it) 2001 hit OCCIDENT, is a hearty comedy. But fret not, if you have come to see people coping with a society crippled by 40 years of Communism, you will not be disappointed, for this is exactly what the films delivers. But in their problems and tragedies humour somehow found its place.
In a PULP FICTION inspired triple narrative, we learn the stories of two lovers, one of which wishes to leave the God-forsaken country for a better life in the West; a girl being abandoned at the altar, and her mother trying to find her a suitable husband via an agency from, you’ve guessed it, the West; and a man coming back to Romania from the West in order to return the belongings of a friend who has passed away there. It is a delightful film with a surprising craft in combining humour and drama, the latter feeling close to what real life might have to offer. The added bonus of a brilliant cast make this one of the feel-good winners of this Festival.

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