Winner of the Best Director prize in Cannes 2016, this gripping film by Romanian Cristian Mungiu is about a father's desperate actions to protect his daughter.
Mungiu, who also won the Cannes Palme d'Or for 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2007), takes a searing look at Romania's power systems, posing stark and resonant ethical questions. Eliza Aldea has a scholarship to study in the UK, but the day before her final exams she is attacked. Worried that his daughter will fail to get out of Romania, her father Romeo enters into a plan to protect his daughter's future, even though it involves manipulating the system and entering into a labyrinth of bribery. Shot and directed with Mungiu's signature control and grace, Graduation explores one of the director's favourite themes: how good people can find themselves perpetuating the rotten structures of society.
Graduation is a masterly, complex movie of psychological subtlety and moral weight, about the shabby choices people make as they claw their way up: people constrained by loyalty to others who have helped them with wrongdoing, who use those others' corruption as an alibi for their own failings, and those who hope that the resulting system of shifty back-scratching somehow constitutes an alternative ethical system. – Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Mungiu has a technical mastery of his craft which is so effortless, so subtle, and so insidiously naturalistic. – Leslie Felperin, The Hollywood Reporter