US Marine Captain Jones is assigned to escort a train carrying NATO equipment headed for Yugoslavia during the war in Kosovo. His mission is thwarted by Doiaru, apparently a very thorough station master in a godforsaken village, who halts the train over a paperwork technicality.
The community makes ridiculous efforts to welcome the Americans, intending to profit from their unexpected presence and the troops join the game. Tired of waiting to get help from higher up, Cpt Jones decides to take matters into his own hands. As he gets more and more involved with the locals, he stirs old arguments and reveals the real reason why Doiaru stopped his train. At the end of five intense days, the train resumes its journey leaving behind broken hearts, broken dreams and a near civil war.
Director Cristian Nemescu brings together a train of US marines and a tiny Romanian village to highlight Romanians’ long-term fascination with the 'elsewhere' and ultimately with America. At the end of World War II, the Romanian people wanted the Americans to rescue them from the Russians and communism - which didn't happen. California Dreaming’ is a timely, witty and perceptive examination of geopolitical longing and a lack of interventionism.