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TIFF Review: Graduation


A doctor attempts to manipulate the academic system so that his daughter who was sexually assaulted graduates.

A stone being hurled through an apartment window by a mysterious perpetrator is the first indication that all is not well in the life of physician Romeo Aldea; he is married to a depressed librarian and has a teenager about to write her final exams which will determine if she gets a scholarship to Cambridge University.  A block away from the school Aldea drops off his daughter to go have an affair with a teacher.  The romantic interlude is interrupted when he receives a phone call informing him that his offspring has been sexually assaulted.  Determined to ensure that the crime will not affect the ability of his daughter to get the necessary examination marks, the doctor makes a series of deals to bolster her academic standing.

Single shots are rare while two shots are plenty with none of them being broken by a reaction shot so there are times when a character is seen entirely from behind.  It is an interesting choice made by filmmaker Cristian Mungiu which allows the drama to unfold in a naturalistic manner.  One of the best moments is when Romeo Aldea is walking down a dark street with the sounds of the night being as disorienting and suspenseful for audience as it is for the main character.

Cool colours dominate the scenes in the outside world whereas warm colours are found in the apartment.  Adrian Titieni convincing portrays a man desperate to make sure that circumstances do not triumph over the final result but in the process of doing so his integrity is compromised.  What he forgets and his wife reminds him of is that the journey is just as important. Every action has a consequence so there are plenty of negative impacts that get woven into the storyline.  There are a couple of surprises along the way with a subtle hint revealing the possible identity of the vandal stalking the protagonist.


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Trevor Hogg is a freelance video editor and writer who currently resides in Canada; he can be found at LinkedIn.

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