Terminus paradis (1998) Poster

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Some train journeys are not meant to be made in Romania !!!
FilmCriticLalitRao5 June 2007
One meaning of "Terminus Paradis" is that all trains have to stop somewhere. This is true for human beings too as all of their journeys must inevitably end somewhere. This is precisely something which the maverick Romanian master Lucian Pintilie has shown in his film. At its core "Terminus Paradis" is an eccentric love story par excellence. When I say an eccentric love story, I mean that in this poignant story the end is not something which the lovers had always anticipated.The leading actress Dorina Chiriac has a charming doll like face. This has surely helped her to give dazzling touches to her very naive looking character. A lot can be said about Costel Cascaval's acting talents too. He has given a solid, convincing performance.Enjoy this film by drinking a lot of beer.
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Go and see it !
bila9 January 1999
Terminus Paradis in one word: a mirror of real life, with shocking ideas, shocking words and images. Under this, a simple, but exhaustive analysis of post-communist Romanian life. The simple action, built on an American-like image, shows the pathological typology of the new "capitalist" mentality, adapted from the elder East-European one. The reactions of post-communist changes are different. Violence, on one side (like Cafanu, the hero of the story) and passivity, on the other side (like his colonel) are just a flash aimed on the Romanian mind.
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Watch for Vasilescu's cameo
Cristi_Ciopron30 April 2009
Warning: Spoilers
This is Pintilie in best shape, first—class Pintilie, with his taste for extravaganza, riots, melodrama, over—the—top strokes, also his absurd-ism, the painful familial relations (a recurring motif in Pintilie's cinema), an ironic fanciness, coupled with his rough, bracing naturalism. I liked the best the satirical scenes; Pintilie's satire is mordant, harsh and grim. In Pintilie there is always this violently buffoon side, the eerily clownish note, a taste for frenetic exaggeration and hysterically heavy satire—sarcastic and harsh and wholly devoid of merriment, corresponding to the Russian understanding of Caragiale's comic as promoted by Paleologu. Like in BALANŢA, there's a drift towards melodrama and melodramatic paroxysm that I have enjoyed less and found rather heavy—handed.

'Mitu' looks like a great iconic performance—assuredly, confidently played, with brio and violence.

Visu is good in this movie, exceedingly good, in an interesting role.

Rebengiuc has a nice cameo; as a matter of fact, there's more of Pintilie's stock: Mrs. Bloos, Vasilescu, of course Mrs. Chiriac. Vasilescu does a sensational supporting part as a viciously bad officer.
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This is a rather typical Romanian, post communist era movie, but worth seeing, nevertheless. SPOILER also available.
marius_cemancamazi10 November 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Gloomy atmosphere, depiction of overwhelming poverty, people acting at the limit of normality, people desperately trying to escape their fates, shattered lives, people willing to try everything to make money etc. You can pretty much figure out the whole picture. The plot: young lives trying to survive and find a sense in life are ensnared and eventually destroyed by the transforming/dehumanized/impoverished society.

<the spoiler starts here >

The main character, young Mitu, falls in love with the equally young waitress Norica. Suffering deeply after sacrificing, for the sake of his father's career, his adolescence dream of immigrating to USA, Mitu seems to have found again a direction to go and a possible way out from his desolate life. But to Mitu's dismay, Norica declines his proposal, pointing out that they won't be able to support themselves. Moreover, she thinks that her only sensible chance is to marry her employer, the old, sleazy owner of a run-down grill shack at the outskirts of the city.

Further building up the pressure is the brief encounter between Mitu and his brother, now a USA citizen wannabe visiting Romania. Although sent to USA by their unfair father, his brother ended up a failed dishes/toilets washer in a restaurant, and finding this out only adds to the grudge Mitu holds against his family. The family he soon breaks all the ties with, just after being drafted to serve in a tanks unit.

Perhaps the only bright character in the movie is to be found in this unlikely environment, in the person of col. Vatasescu, the tanks unit commander, a man who will constantly struggle to divert Mitu from his self-destructive path. Thus trying to ease up his own guilt of not being able to stop an AWOL soldier from his unit being gunned down in cold blood by the anti-terrorist forces. Anyway, from the moment Mitu becomes a soldier things unravel fast, in a destructive downward spiral pulling him to his doom, despite the colonel's efforts. A lieutenant considering him as a "problem soldier" and constantly humiliating him; Norica's wish to marry her boss for money; the theft of a tank and destruction of the grill shack, hoping to hinder Norica's marriage; the humiliations in the disciplinary regiment he's sentenced to serve into for stealing the tank; Norica's fixation to marry her boss; the theft of a weapon and the get away from the prison; the gunning down of Norica's boss; the elope of Mitu and Norica; the married couple's attempt to avoid capture by the authorities; Mitu's decision to save Norica and face his fate alone. But in the end, the anti-terrorist forces shoot Mitu and the colonel, during the colonel's last effort to save the young man's life.
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new page of a war
Kirpianuscus5 June 2016
a cry. or , maybe, a parable. strange at first sigh. and painful confession about reality, dream, looking for happiness, definition of life. to say that it is a film by Lucian Pintilie could be enough. but not only the dark story, with a memorable last scene, not the profound message who can be understand only by East European public in its essential dimension are important but the fascinate performances of Dorina Chiriac and Costel Cașcaval. a film of fury and escapes, revenge against yourself and run to death, it is perfect example of beauty of mud and force of small people. aphorisms and crumbs from other films by Pintilie. and step of a personal fight against the images of every day reality of one of the most important Romanian directors.
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Brilliant picture of the Romanian society. But not for everyone!
Radu Bontideanu11 January 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Personally I consider Terminus Paradis as one of the greatest (if not the best) Romanian films ever made. Apparently, the movie follows the story of an unusual and yet hilarious couple that struggles to find a way to live together their "impossible" love story in spite of all the social obstacles that arise from the very first moment of their strange encounter (beautifully illustrated in the beginning of the film). From that moment, the protagonists Mitu and Norica find themselves in an impossibility to live a normal life together as they have to face the difficult mentality of the weird members of Mitu's family, the obvious lack of any sources of income or proper life conditions and, not the least, the Norica's total dependence of her boss and occasionally lover Gili (an old man who owns a small and obscure bar, like many other people trying to earn social respect and fortune during those times). Although their relationship may seem kind of "sick" by some standards (as they fell in love with each other when they were already very drunk) it's in fact a beautiful and emotional story which shows the truth of our society, questions our points of view upon everything and haunts the viewers with ruthless images and filthy language (which seems to be a "must have" in a Romanian film currently). Their love story is actually way more normal than any other human relations presented in the movie, like: Mitu - his father, Norica - Gili or Mitu - his brother. These relations are in essence more relevant and true than it appears to be. The family of Mitu is not weird at all. The typology of its members were and still are very common in the Romanian society. As you may guess, this film has also an "army part". Mitu is forced by his own poor condition to join the military service. Terminus Paradis is known in Romania mostly because of a single famous scene from a military base where Captain Burcea manages to become one of the most "bad*ss" characters in the Romanian cinematography. He uses many English slang terms, is very foul-mouthed and cruel but he's, in fact, a minor character who is on screen for around 10 minutes. However, the Romanian military service in those times (still mandatory in '98, but not for long) is also very well pictured and the kind personality of Colonel Vatasescu is an essential key for the dramatic and disturbing final scene from the train. What makes the film really special is the in-depth looking in the heart of two simple Romanian people, whose dramatic story reveals a beautiful portrayal of the Romanian society is the late 90's, after 10 years since the revolution against communism. All the characters have their own unique way to survive and get over poverty, old mentality and the values of a patriarchal society, trying to live an actual "American dream". Mitu and Norica manage in the end to find their peace and harmony in love, but in a very tragic way. I'm not gonna spoil more of this, but I'm gonna warn you that the ending scenes are very sad and emotional, perfectly suitable for this classic Romanian drama made in 1998, but still very relevant nowadays. As a Romanian I highly recommend this film if you want to discover a new kind of cinematic experience or have an interest in marginal societies. For us, this movie will never get old enough!
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bitter wake up
Armand11 July 2014
gray, cruel, cynical, poetic, dramatic, touching, maybe strange. the film of a state of soul. film of a profound crisis. and image of hope's lost. out of brutal language remains its special beauty. few magnificent scenes, few crazy scenes. and the splendid acting - Gheorghe Visu does one of his extraordinary roles. high result of a rare artistic team, work of a great director, it impose an admirable actor - Costel Cascaval who use , with force and precision, each trait of his character. a film about Romanian reality, a cry, it is a real good film. and after its end, that fact is only important. because the tension, the stories, the search of sense are only tools for an impressive movie. must see it ! and than it could become a kind of experience. not only an artistic one.
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Wonderful look at the cries of the Romanian youth
Alexandru Acsinte20 March 2016
I found this to be a wonderful and beautiful look at rebelliousness and cries of the youth in a post-communist Romania. A world constantly influenced by American pop-music and cool American words heard on TV such as "piece of sh*t", or "son of a bitch".

It's a world in which Mitu strives for a better life and wishes to detach himself from the dependency on his family, especially his father's relations. After falling in love with Norica, a girl who seems to get him, he sets on marrying her and fleeing to America, where they shall meet Paradise.

Set on doing things his way, Mitu disobeys his superiors several times without caring for the repercussions. All he knows is that he wants Norica and he wants to reach America's shores. He is envious of his brother Nicu, whom their father has helped get away from the hardships found in Romania. But Nicu's life in America is not the wonderland that Mitu imagines it to be, as he has to eat from celebrities' trash bins and sleep on the streets. And I like how matters are not as black-and-white as Mitu believes them to be.

I thought that most of the performances were really great, with the exceptions with a few ones which I found to be questionable. Many of the shots of the landscape have a dream-like quality to them and made me think that in spite of the fact that people are just like pigs (as Mitu puts it), perhaps, just perhaps, Paradise may not be across the ocean in the America, but right there, in your own land.
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This is more than a movie. This is real Romanian life!
Elvantin21 June 2007
Terminus Paradis is the movie that impressed me the most until now. It's about life and how to make a living. It's about the impossibility to make a family in Romania, because of hard living. The language is exactly the language of every Romanian: dirty, mean, sick, intrigant, etc. I personally know Costel Cascaval (Mitu in the movie) and I've discussed with him about this movie. Again I'm telling you: it's not a movie, it's a FACT, it's real life! And the actors, they're not acting, they just play their roles. Nothing is fake! Everything is reality! In the army service everything happens like you saw in the movie. In Romania, everything goes like it was presented there!
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One man's need of love creates a drama...in love, though
Flo Gavrilsson Tibu2 February 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Some guy is sick of his shitty life and of his working with pigs, and decides to get a grip in actual "living". He scams a girl, then sends his family to hell altogether with their "care"; he goes to army, but can not withstand the fact that his GF is about to marry some lousy bastard. Eventually he goes to a "disciplinary army unit" and then to prison.He steals a tank, escape from prison, even kills the poor bastard. He is now a fugitive, and every piece of his life-puzzle is falling apart. In the end he still does damage, having a negotiator getting shot by the police and army forces. The sad but true facts of reality, purely Romanian reality.No SFX, no funky stuff. Plain truth. Too bad that very few non-Romanian can understand the feeling. See the movie for 2-3 times to get its real meaning.Try and watch Pintilie's other movies. Try Reconstituirea. Or other great Romanian movies as "Balanta", "Patul Conjugal" or "Filantropica".
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