fbpx

TALES FROM THE GOLDEN AGE

Director: CRISTIAN MUNGIU, IOANA URICARU, HANNO HÖFER, RAZVAN MARCULES-CU, CONSTANTIN POPESCU

ROMANIA-FRANCE • 2009 • SUBTITLED • COLOUR • DIGITAL • 131 MIN


FROM THE 4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS AND 2 DAYS DIRECTOR CRISTIAN MINGIU AND HIS COLLEAGUES COMES THIS PORTMANTEAU REFLECTING THE VAGARIES OF LIFE IN CEAUSESCU’S ROMANIA.

Of course, it’s been something of a golden age for the country’s cinema of late, and talent’s clearly not in short supply either, though it may be a gag reflecting the collectivist ethos of the then-totalitarian state that individual authorship is here left unattributed in the credits sequence recalling the good old, bad old days. Choice propaganda footage sets up this vividly persuasive picture of a society caught between graft and anxiety, where the seemingly inexhaustible ingenuity deployed in getting round the restrictions of state control is matched by an ever-present dread of the consequences of getting caught out.

Needless to say, there’s much wry fun to be had at the expense of the bureaucrats, as panic reigns in a rural community being inspected to see if they’ll pass muster for a big-wig’s motorcade, and a party photographer faces meltdown when his picture of Giscard D’Estaing’s official visit makes the Frenchman seem more presidential than their own dear leader. Although the vignette of a lovelorn lorry driver seeking to win an inn-keeper’s heart by smuggling her illicit eggs treats the era of food shortages with a bittersweet twinge, there’s more laughter in the episode where a suburban family face the challenge of slaughtering a pig without alerting their apartment block neighbours – and indeed in the delightful closing story, which goes to show that you can sell air for a profit if you’re clever enough. A wise and witty collection from those who lived through it all. — Trevor Johnston.

Book Tickets

}