While we would normally herald the Balkan epic California Dreamin’ (Endless) as further proof of the glorious rise of new Romanian cinema, a tragedy must first be noted. Director Cristian Nemescu was killed in a car accident along with his sound editor, Andrei Toncu, on August 24, 2006. Nemescu’s prodigious debut was posthumously awarded the Un Certain Regard prize at the Cannes Film Festival last year.
The film is based on a real-life incident. In June of 1999, a top-secret NATO radar system is en route to war torn Kosovo by train. However, the urgent mission sees its progress halted by Doiaru (Razvan Vasilescu), the station master and local heavy of a small Romanian outpost named Capalnita. He insists that all appropriate custom forms be filled out before the cargo can pass, despite having received consent from the government. Soon a battle of wills begins between the powerful black-marketeer and United States military squadron accompanying the system.
Though Nemescu’s death was a huge loss to global cinema, he has left us a masterful and ambitious film that honours his great promise.
Michèle Maheux, Toronto Film Festival Catalogue
Iuliana Tarnovetchi, Dan Badea, Andrei Boncea