Romanian film-maker Cristian Mungiu (“4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days” & “Occident”) enlists fellow directors Hanno Höfer, Constantin Popescu, Ioana Uricaru, Razvan Marculescu for this quirky little portmanteau comedy film which is now doing the festival circuit in a more digestible cut-down international version.
The five tales (four in the cut-down international version) retell classic urban legends from the dark days of the country’s soviet past under the regime of Nicolae Ceauşescu which show how ordinary people were able to combat the brutality under which they lived with darkly acidic comic tales of inept activists, officials and officers.
The ensemble cast includes some stand-out performances from the likes of Emanuel Parvu, Avram Birau, Calin Chirila and Ion Sapdaru with superb support coming from Alexandru Potocean, Avram Birau, Teodor Corban, Romeo Tudor, Paul Dunca, Viorel Comanici, Virginia Mirea and Gabriel Spahiu who all display long memories and deft comic timing.
The divers group of film-makers have seamlessly blended together to create a magnificent anthology, far greater than the sum of its parts, which can’t fail to raise a wry smile as it reminds us of that seemingly distant past and confirms all the prejudices we always held against it with a curious piece of retro-political-satire.
“Let’s hang some fruit from the trees so they’re not bare.”