Movie Review: Romanian master Cristian Mungiu finds more hardship in the homeland with Graduation

One of many remarkable things about the Romanian New Wave, that ongoing cycle of grueling dramas and bone-dry comedies, is the larger picture it paints. The movies talk to each other, putting Romania’s past and present in conversation; to understand, for example, why the frivolous political theater of The Autobiography Of Nicolae Ceausescu is so infuriating, it helps to either be up on the country’s history or to have seen one of the numerous films depicting the hardships that Ceausescu, authoritarian leader of Romania for two decades, inflicted upon his people. Context isn’t necessary, thankfully, to get wrapped up in the knotty moral dilemma of Graduation, the latest slow burn from writer-director Cristian Mungiu, whose Cannes-winning 4 Months, 3 Weeks, And 2 Days brought the movement to international prominence. But knowing the country (or its cinema) does help make sense of the tough choices facing its main …

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