The High School Kids

The movie made after the novel (aka The Graduates, 1987, directed by Nicolae Corjos, b. 1935 - click here to see fragment) – a simple, old story (a young man, Mihai, comes to the big city – Bucharest – to learn in high school, where his passion for math and philosophy is overridden by his love for a classmate – Dana) – enjoyed tremendous success in the late 1980s, while its less fortunate sequels such as Rock'n'roll Graduates (1992, Nicolae Corjos) and Graduates on Alert (1993, directed by Mircea Plângău) had to face the tough competition from Beverly Hills 90210 and its clones streaming into post-communist Romania.


On the wall in front of the class, Vlad pins up a graph with different colored lines. The boys and girls jostle around him. "It's up to date!" specifies the "Olympiad" contestant. Adrian follows the colored lines on the paper with a pencil point. "Look at that, mates, I've beaten them all!" he rejoices. "Steady on, steady on, because we've still got a short spurt to go!" "What spurt, Vlad," Geta breaks in, "I can see we're on the summit!" "With a simple exception: take a closer look at the green line. There is a dip there," he says indicating the spot, "and in that dip sits Ionica. And if we don't make him a mountaineer within a week, then goodbye 'summit'!" They all turn round to look at Ionica. He puffs himself up, as usual, and tries to wriggle out of the jam with who knows what devilish trick... whether stated or just implied. "I'll do what I'll do and I'll be a 'star' again," he exclaims, this time. "I have my talents too, lads!" "Ionica," says Vlad, "a joke's a joke, but you know, why don't you present yourself at my house every day after school. Just like at 'junior school', with an exercise book and a pencil! Are we agreed?" The footballer pulls a pained face, and then he even exercises his right to lose his temper: "Can you hear what he's coming out with? You all want to make me a mountaineer in the last week... meters, but now you're changing my 'trainer'? Right now? Based on what methodology? I'm listening!" "So, you don't want to listen to me?" breaks in Mihai, at the same time winking at Vlad, as though there were some kind of understanding between them. "In that case, I've decided to decline the responsibility. Let Vlad take you on! He won't let you get away with all kinds of tricks, that's for sure!" Ionica is in a bind. He realizes the problem is serious and that, without coaching, there was no way out. And if it was a matter of coaching, he certainly preferred Mihai. He raises his hand: "I ask for the floor." "Be our guest, 'Excellency'!" Geta teases him. Ionica glares at her. "I ask for the floor," he continues, "in order to declare that... I surrender! I'll listen to Mihai." "Are you making a promise? Here in front of the entire class?" the latter challenges him. "I am!" "And you won't break it?" "No way! …A round of applause!" he also demands. The girls and boys burst, indeed, into a round of applause. The atmosphere has taken on a different hue. Ionica's classmates try do outdo each other's ironic remarks: "But it's not fair," breaks in Lia, feigning seriousness. "We can't leave it all down to Mihai! We should help him too! Look, I, for example, offer to help with some Vitamin B6!" "And I'll help with some 'phosphobion'," adds Mirela. "It's good for the musculature of the nerve cell." "I've still got some 'lecithin' left from when I was small and stupid!" says Emil, drolly... "Leave it out! I'll show you what this here lad is capable of!" Ionica answers them all, giving a forced smile. "It's all very well showing us, but what is important is for you to show Isosceles," Geta chips in. "You as well?!" asks Ionica. "Wasn't it you who was saying so on and so forth..."

by George Şovu (b. 1931)