(also known as: WEST - International: English title; informal literal title)

Cristian Mungiu, Romania, 2002
Fiction, colour, 110'
Romanian, English and Italian, with English subtitles


Alexandru Papadopol
Dorel Visan
Tania Popa
Anca Androne
Ioan Gyuri Pascu

Saturday 12 April 2008
6.15 pm
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Preceded by



'What's got into everybody? Why leave? Is there nothing good left?', asks an exasperated father in Mungiu's Occident. There's a 'should I stay or should I go' lurking in the back of the mind of virtually every character in Mungiu's debut feature. Occident tells, in mosaic mode, three different stories ­ which happen at the same time, interconnect and cross each other, with each story adding a new perspective on the previous one. Mungiu uses humour and lightness of touch to make a comment about early post-communist Romania, a depressing landscape resulting from the collision of the former communist world with the new and flamboyant capitalist offer.

A bunch of characters consumed by their longing for the West.
A chaotic Romania apparently heading nowhere.
A hilarious film about saddening choices.



Directors Fortnight, Cannes Film Festival 2003

Cristian Mungiu

Born in 1968, Cristian Mungiu studied English and American literature before graduating from the National Film School in Bucharest. He worked as an assistant director on some fifteen features from 1994 to 1998, and directed several award-winning shorts, among which were The Hand of Paulista (1998), Zapping (2000) and The Firemen's Choir (2000). Mungiu was awarded the Palme D'Or in Cannes in 2007 for 4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days, his gripping story of sacrifice and friendship set in the last years of Ceausescu's Romania. 4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days is part of a larger project called Tales from the Golden Age, a subjective history of communism in Romania told through its urban legends.

Of course, it was with our eyes turned to Mungiu's Occident that we jokingly invited you, in our press release, to join us in celebrating five years of Romanian Film Festival in London (i.e. a cincinal / five year plan, according to socialist Romania's frame of mind and vocabulary), by listening to one of the anthems of our youth: The Five Year Plan in Four Years and a Half / Cincinalu'n patru ani si jumatate (The link is still on the website of the Romanian Cultural Centre, feel free to check it at this link ). Rolling on Occident's end-credits is 'In The Year 2000', the quintessential anthem of our communist youth, about acceptable socialist dreams and heavily controlled futures:

We know what's to come on the road ahead of us
Thousands of flowers and palaces
Tomorrow we will have.

In the year 2000
When we're no longer children
All our daring dreams
Will come true.

Youtube link

It seems to have worked out for Mungiu (well, maybe not the palaces).

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