After a day in which I strolled around Haarlem center early in the morning, when almost no one is on the streets, after wandering and wondering about this city in which I’ve been for the first time almost 2 years ago, my heart was still longing for some Romanian stuff. And lucky me, at the cinema, in the center, BACALAUREAT of Cristian Mungiu was in the program today. And even more lucky me, in NL the movies are subtitled, so I had the opportunity to see a movie in my own language.
What I was wondering during the film is what the other watchers are understanding? The theme of the movie is based on the “maturity exam” which is mandatory if you want to consider high school finished and you want to follow university studies. When I had this exam, 11 years ago, I had 2 oral exams (Romanian and English) and 4 written exams (Romanian, Mathematics, Programming and Logic). It was a stressful period, especially because everything seemed so serious for the first time in school after 12 years. And, of course, BAC was the escape door from my home town, was the first condition to be accepted in a university so I had all the interest to have a good grade.
The movie has as a central character the father of a 18 years old girl, who is attacked by a man one day before the first written exam. As I am already used with the gray scenes, almost no music, the shacking image, it was no news for me that the film will transmit a heavy feeling. And, of course, we could not miss the chain of influence in the Romanian society, where PCR (Romanian Communist Party was translated as “Pile, Cunostinte, Relatii” which is translated mostly in having relations and being protected by them) is still a way to get in the society, to be seen by a good doctor, to have the kid assigned to a good teacher and so on. Maybe the series of relations is not as developed as in the movie, but I know for sure that even now it is safer if you have money to put in your doctor’s pocket or teacher’s pocket or …
The 2 hours spent in the cinema were just like a flashback in each situation I’ve found myself in since I left home. All the bad words (which were translated mot-a-mot in Dutch), the despair of trying to be honest, the thoughts that I can change the society.
And so many friends thought the same. As in the movie, where everyone was saying about how they thought they will change the world, how they wish for something new, we were all thinking inside our heads how we want to change things around us, but we were still paying in order to be first in line. And the fact is that it is all only in our heads and the only world we can change is the one of ours, but never of others. And the saddest thing is that we leave home in order to have a better life, a normal life, but there’s no day without thinking what if, what if I never left. Will this ever make a difference?