California Dreamin' (Endless) | Chicago Reader

California Dreamin' (Endless)

The parenthetical of the Romanian title--California Dreamin' (Nesfarsit)--translates not only as “endless” but as “unfinished,” and given the film's history, both meanings seem appropriate. Director Cristian Nemescu was in postproduction in August 2006 when he and sound designer Andrei Toncu were killed in a car accident, and their movie premiered in Cannes as they'd left it. Armand Assante plays an American NATO officer supervising rail transport of radar equipment to Kosovo during the Balkan conflict; when an officious stationmaster halts the train, demanding customs papers the soldiers don't have, they're stranded in a little village and eventually sucked into its petty intrigues. Some critics have complained about the 155-minute running time, arguing that Nemescu would have trimmed this down to a more marketable length. But it didn't feel long to me: as with that other Romanian import, The Death of Mr. Lazarescu, the sense of waiting forever adds to the movie's existential comedy. In Romanian with subtitles.

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