I couldn't agree with you more: I was absolutely stunned by the movie,
and I consider it THE best effort to convey the deep evil of Communism
I've ever seen in cinema. I talked to Mungiu about some of these
issues in an interview you can find in post 46350, as well as about
his mise-en-scene, which is absolutely extrarordinary.
The dinner sequence is amazingly effective, but I also liked the slow
build-up of small petty hostility (it reaches its high-point with Mr.
Bebe), that is so evocative for anyone who has lived in a Communist
country (or lives in a post-Communist one, for that matter, because
the mentality is still there). The conversation with the hotel clerk,
which immediately turns into a painstaking power struggle of one
person over another, complete with perverse pleasure the clerk takes
in humiliating the guest -- speaks volumes about what the system did
to people who didn't even have to embrace it to be influenced by it.