California Dreamin' (Nesfarsit) (Endless) (2007) - Rotten Tomatoes

California Dreamin' (Nesfarsit) (Endless) (2007)

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Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Romanian director Cristian Nemescu's comedy California Dreamin' (aka Nesfarsit, 2007) unfolds against the backdrop of the Kosovo War, circa 1999. A NATO train rolls through a Romanian hamlet, transporting a plethora of weapons across the country -- without official documents, and equipped only with the verbal consent of the Romanian authorities. The transport thus grows intensely vulnerable to the locals -- particularly the corrupt head of the railway station, who moonlights as a mobster and promptly decides to interfere with the shipment.

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Cast

Armand Assante
as Cpt. Doug Jones
Jamie Elman
as Sgt. David McLaren
Alexandru Georgescu
as Corp. Tanase
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Critic Reviews for California Dreamin' (Nesfarsit) (Endless)

All Critics (18) | Top Critics (6)

It could use a trim, but only rarely does it strain for effect, and, for a young man, Nemescu was uncannily versed in the emotions of middle age.

Full Review… | January 26, 2009
New Yorker
Top Critic

For now at least, we have to be content with this pleasing comedy in search of an editor.

Full Review… | January 23, 2009
New York Post
Top Critic

California Dreamin' is a rambunctious, closely observed comedy of cultural collision.

January 23, 2009
New York Times
Top Critic

At its present length it sprawls shamelessly in terms of the ultimate futility of its narrative.

Full Review… | January 21, 2009
New York Observer
Top Critic

Nemescu's promising young voice will be sorely missed, not only in Romanian cinema but also on the international scene.

Full Review… | October 11, 2007
Time Out
Top Critic

A sharp-edged socio-political satire that clearly lets Americans know how they are viewed abroad by foreigners.

Full Review… | May 17, 2010
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for California Dreamin' (Nesfarsit) (Endless)

It is 1999, and Captain Doug Jones(Armand Assante) is leading a joint NATO taskforce through Romania to bring telecommunications equipment to aid in the bombing in Kosovo. As luck would have it, they only make it as far as a small village where they are held up by Doiaru(Razvan Vasilescu), the station master, for lack of customs papers. The mayor(Ion Sapdaru) can do nothing to aid their progress. It's a shame because Doiaru's teenaged daughter Monica(Maria Dinulescu) was hoping to ride the train to escape to Bucharest but is brought back by her father's men, with a platoon of marines looking on helplessly. She's not the only person in town who hates her father as Nae(Gabriel Spahiu) has to take a number with his work stoppage. "California Dreamin'" is a decent enough tragicomedy and satirical allegory of both Romania's relationship to the world and America's effects on everybody else. It might seem a little odd that very few people in the village can speak English(yet, they can find an Elvis impersonator) in a post-Communist world but not so much that the Americans can only speak English.(Although, Romanian might make for a obscure choice in any case.) At the same time, despite their military might, a single stationmaster can bring everything to a halt. That's okay. Sometimes, a day off can do the world of good.(I really do sympathize with being stuck on a stopped train for a prolonged amount of time.) However, a lot of this feels forced with a slight "Romeo and Juliet" story line thrown in for good measure. For the record, absurd situations in Eastern Europe have been the stuff of fiction for a long time, but usually with no explanations given which is kind of the point.

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

Reviews make this movie sound like a Romanian Kusturica movie, but the truth is that this story about bureaucracy is every bit as dull as its subject: "An astonishing debut feature, Nemescu's bold and brilliant satire has modern-day Romania and US foreign policy firmly in its sights. In 1999, a secret NATO train filled with US Marines is halted by a bolshy local station master-cum-black marketeer. What follows is a rambunctious Balkan farce that shades inexorably into tragedy as the soldiers and the townspeople try to fraternise. A happy outcome was never possible and, as the town implodes, the Americans move blithely on to Kosovo, unaware of the violence they have unleashed. Sadly, this will be Nemescu's only feature, as both he and his sound editor were killed in a car crash while still working on the film." That last sentence may well explain the lack of editing, and sound for that matter...

Ross Collins
Ross Collins

Super Reviewer

½

Interesting tale of culture clash at a Romanian train station linked to historical events. Similar themes to the WWII 'Americans oversexed and overhere' films of the 80's.

Gordon Anderson
Gordon Anderson

Super Reviewer

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