The Oak

The farcical and horrific living conditions in Romania during the last year of the Ceausescu dictatorship are the focus of this 1992 French-Romanian production by Lucian Pintilie, based on Ion Baiesu’s novel Bylanta. When her father dies in Bucharest, a young schoolteacher (Maia Morgenstern) erupts in fury against the bureaucracy, then leaves the city to teach in the provinces, where she promptly becomes the victim of a sexual assault. The doctor (Razvan Vasilescu) who befriends her soon becomes the target of corrupt local authorities. Around these starting points Pintilie builds elaborate arabesques of rage and mordant comedy. (JR)

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