Cristian Nemescu, Romania, 2007
Fiction, colour, 155'
Romanian and English dialogues, with English subtitles

Thursday 10 April 2008
6.00 pm
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Armand Assante
Razvan Vasilescu
Jamie Elman
Maria Dinulescu
Ion Sapdaru
Alex Margineanu
Andi Vasluianu

Produced by

MediaPro Pictures, Temple Film

Courtesy of Artificial Eye

California Dreamin

A stubborn station master confronts a NATO mission.

In 1999, a NATO train transporting military equipment is stopped in the middle of nowhere by the overzealous and overtly anti-American chief of a train station in Romania. The transport, supervised by American soldiers, is crossing Romania without official documents, based only on the verbal approval of the Romanian government. Set against the backdrop of the 1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, the film explores the impact that the arrival of the American soldiers has on the tiny village community: historical experience, corruption, bureaucratic inefficiency and romantic interest concur in a mayhem battle of wills with tragic consequences for the village but not for the Americans. At the end of five intense days, the train resumes its journey leaving behind broken hearts, shattered dreams and a civil war.

California Dreamin

A cinematic tour de force, as well as a poignant and hilarious comment on parochialism, intercultural clashes, and Romania's long-term fascination with America.

“California Dreamin' is an epic satire, with both modern-day Romania and US foreign policy firmly in its sights”. (Nick Roddick, London Film Festival)

California Dreamin


'Un Certain Regard' Award, Cannes 2007
Satyajit Ray Prize, 51st Times London Film Festival 2007

Cristian Nemescu (1979 - 2006)

When he died at 27 in a car crash which also claimed the life of his sound designer (Andrei Toncu), Nemescu was the most promising voice of New Romanian Cinema, with a distinctive directorial voice and a proven taste for life on the margins. Having recently graduated from film school and with a number of international awards for his short films already gained, Nemescu was interested in sexuality and cinematic language. He aimed to mix fantasy with social realism, and dreamt of walking out of the habitual realist aesthetic of Romanian cinema. All his short films had a sexual intrigue: exploring sexuality was a way to break free from the harsh skin of the real, and to reach out to alternative human and cinematic realms. Instead of a social cinema Nemescu wanted love stories. His cinema was not minimalist, but excessive and flamboyant - a characteristic which also emerges from his feature film, incorporating a newly-discovered interest in social and political comment. The car crash happened late at night when Nemescu was returning home after working on the post-production of California Dreamin' - his debut feature was also his last film.

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