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Film Critics: Today, December 13, winners from Dallas ForthWorthFCA, ChicagoFCA and Film Comment Magazine. Nominations from HoustonFCS, PhoenixCC. PhoenixFCS.

Friday, June 15, 2007

California Dreamin’ (Nesfarsit) [California Dreamin’ (Endless)]


I was curious about the title of this movie and finding that the endless part refers to the idea that the movie will remain without a final cut was surprising, as this movie is the last available cut before the 27 years old director Cristian Nemescu died in a traffic accident.

Watching an unfinished movie perhaps seems like very risky, but believe this “unfinished” movie is quite an attention grabber. Now I just have to imagine what the director could have done to improve this cut and make it even better. But it is hard, as the way it is, is more that good. Still I can think of some shorter scenes.

The movie was inspired by a real Kosovo war incident involving American troops accompanying a NATO train that was stopped at a rural Romanian railway station because it lacked customs documents. Co written by Nemescu the incident evolves into a complex dark comedy and drama.

I been thinking how to give an idea of the story without spoiling the movie, but it is hard as many things happen so I will borrow words that I read. First Nemescu uses black and white scenes to tell the complicated relationship between Romanians and America since WWII. Then, in the main story he provides a damming portrait of Romania where corruption is endemic and officials thrive by avoiding responsibility. Last gives a devastating picture of self-righteous Americans who stir up a bloodbath but manage to leave the scene with their hands clean. But this is only the outline as there is strong human drama involved when Romanians and Americans interact.

For some reason I cannot clearly identify the reason why I couldn’t keep my eyes from the screen for the two and half hours the movie lasted; I was hypnotized and mesmerized. This does not happen to me very often, as I always know the reason for my reactions. But then this movie is in one word: strange.

Some critics are claiming that the movie got the 2007 Cannes Un Certain Regard award for its intentions, for what it could have been the end product in Nemescu’s hands. I do and I don’t agree. Agree to the part of imagining an end product in Nemescu’s hands –could have been outstanding-, but don’t agree in the part of the award. This is a good movie as it is and totally deserves the award.

This may be an art house movie for some, but even if I know that this is not for all audiences, I believe this is no art or art house movie. This is very good and hypnotic movie not to miss.

Last, this is no war movie, the only war scenes are of WWII and just in case you are wondering about the California Dreamin’ part, yes is the song by the Mamas and the Papas.

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