Romeo, a middle-aged doctor living in the Romanian city of Cluj, is faced with a brutal moral dilemma. His bright young daughter, Eliza, is on the cusp of receiving a scholarship to Cambridge — she just needs to ace her final exam to secure her placement at the prestigious British university. When Eliza is assaulted the day before her exam, suddenly the likelihood of her passing the test with flying colors grows dim. Desperate to see his daughter leave the corrupt and dysfunctional Cluj and start a life of opportunity in the UK, Romeo begins the precarious dance of pulling strings around town with various higher-ups to make sure Eliza receives the marks she needs. Romanian master and AFI FEST alum Cristian Mungiu again crafts a deft, slow-burn social thriller that exposes the diseased nature of the system and how it infects everyone operating within it. With Mungiu's signature long takes, and a finely modulated performance by Adrian Titieni as Romeo, GRADUATION is a film not only about corruption but also the grey areas of parenting and family striving. — Beth Hanna
Romanian-born Cristian Mungiu’s films have screened at the Cannes Film Festival over the years, with his second feature 4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS AND 2 DAYS (AFI FEST 2007) taking the Palme d’Or and BEYOND THE HILLS (AFI FEST 2012) winning dual Best Actress and Best Screenplay prizes. At the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, Mungiu was honored with the Best Director Award for his film GRADUATION.