19 February 2009 | Mihnea_aka_Pitbull
An unmistakable Romanian and Nemescian note
I'll begin with a piece of trivia: it's very funny to see that all among the comments about this movie, the worst are originating from Serbia. Why? Because the subject is approaching in an objective way (not a demonizing one) Romania's cooperation with the N.A.T.O. forces, during the Kosovo crisis at the end of the last century. (Besides this, it's significant to see that Mladen Ilic is inventing faults, in his drive to dis-consider the movie - or, perhaps, the poor man is just a profane spectator who has no grasp of the profession; if this be the case, he is excused).
Another piece of trivia is that, after the press screening of the movie, the writer was almost coming to blows with me, because my public comments during the conference had included a certain criticism. (Fortunately, now we are okay again.) To get to the point, I should say that my official review of the movie is pretty detailed, and any Romanian-reading user can read it on Cinemagia or Liternet (unfortunately, I can't post the links here, since the IMDb rules forbid it; but you know what I'm speaking about). The important thing is that "California Dreamin' (Unfinished)" is indeed one of these golden movies of Romanian's present day's generation. It expresses an unmistakable Romanian note, in style, content and feeling, and also a definitory trait of its sadly departed author, the talented an exceptionally rigorous Cristian Nemescu (here comes the THIRD piece of trivia: we fought like mad on the Cinemagia Forum - but, thank God, we made up one year before his tragic demise).
A very important piece of info: Cristi Nemescu had the habit to shoot much more than it was meant to get into the movie, and then to ruthlessly re-organize and cut short his footage, while editing. It was his own way to reach the maximum level of his expression. Still, because of his death, the producer and crew decided to keep as much as possible of his shot footage - out of respect for his work. This is why the movie remained so long and somewhat dissipated in the last quarter.
The good news is that even those scenes are well done, precise and compelling, so the fault belongs only to the structural principles, not also to the pictures as such. Although loosely articulated, boring it doesn't become, that final section! Putting together all the good and bad points, "California Dreamin' (Unfinished)" remains one of the best Romanian movies of all times - and, more than that: as an East European movie in the widest sense. Highly recommended viewing - if you have an atom of cinematographic taste, you won't regret it one bit!