Wednesday, July 25, 2007

12:08 East of Bucharest

All hail the Romanian New Wave! While not as good as The Death of Mr. Lazarescu, I still liked this movie quite a bit, especially the more I think about how dry and absurd the whole thing is.

The film is about a host of a local television show who wants to commemorate the 16th anniversary of the Romanian revolution by having a show to talk about how the lives of the people in the town have changed since the overthrow of Ceausescu's government The problem is no one in the town feels much like participating because the revolution didn't really make much of a difference in their lives at all.

The second half of the movie is all set in the studio of the television show. The host was able to corral an alcoholic old man/town Santa Claus obsessed with the corruption of the town's firecracker lighting youth and a hungover bitter teacher. While the host desperately tries to keep the conversation serious, the old man wanders around the studio, and the topic turns to whether or not anyone in the town had actually participated in the overthrow of Ceausescu or not. The question remains - did anyone in the town actually take to the streets before Ceausescu was deposed or did they take to the streets after the television told them it was safe to?

And then they take phone calls. Everyone seems to have a different memory of what actually happened on that fateful day 16 years earlier. Cameras fail, the host gets flustered, the teacher storms off the set in anger, the cameraman gets yelled at ... the low key comedy just keeps on building. This movie definitely is not for everyone but is well worth watching if you give it time to grow on you.

Directed by Corneliu Porumboiu
2006, Year of U.S. Release: 2007
Film Forum


weasel said...

I was on the fence about this one but I think I'm going to have to add it to the ol' Netflix wait line.

Thanks for the review, keep up the good work old bean!

Listmaker said...

just to warn you - mitch didn't like it all that much.