Penultimate Romanian Film
Occident was, perhaps, my favorite of the three. It presents three intertwined narratives (or was it four? I'm losing track) about urban Romanians in the very recent past... set right around 2000. The characters are likeable, if often foolish, and all are trying to come to terms with post-revolution Romania. Some are determined to leave, some think it's better to stay, and one has left and returned.
I admit to a weakness for tales told in this multiple-story manner; I have always liked, for example, Lawrence Durrell's Alexandria Quartet, which combines changes of narrator and progression of time to provide an added, surprising dimension to novels which are already rich and subtle in themselves. Robertson Davies' several trilogies also work somewhat in this manner, although they are not designed as quite such puzzles. Occident weaves its interlocking stories and perspectives quite well for a feature-length film, and conveys the stories with a charming sense of humor while nonetheless dealing with some sad events and intense emotions, but here and there I did wonder whether bits of information got lost on the cutting-room floor.
Altogether, it is decidedly to be recommended.