Cristian Nemescu’s Romanian New Wave satire carried off the ‘Un Certain Regard’ prize at Cannes 2007 – sadly posthumously, since the director was killed in a car crash during post-production. The film sees a trainload of Nato troops stranded in a Romanian village during the last gasps of the 1999 Kosovan war, thanks to stubborn station master Doiaru (Razvan Vasilescu). Nemescu’s film plays with the villagers’ greed and opportunism, but also weaves a telling commentary on Romanian bureaucracy and the country’s troubled past through the wine-and-women celebrations held for the guests and a tongue-tied love story between Doiaru’s daughter and a Marine. California Dreamin’ has a languid, slightly unfinished air, but this detracts little from the drama.
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