16 years after the Revolution, a local television station in Bucharest invites several guests to share their moments of glory, as they stormed city hall chanting “down with Ceaucescu!” An alcoholic history teacher and a lonely retiree are forced to answer questions from dubious viewers.
This film is not currently playing on MUBI but 30 other great films are. See what’s now showing
First feature by director Corneliu Porumboiu was a sublime black comedy about convenient memory, self grandeur and comeuppance. A wonderful script by the director that is succinct and exacting. Performances are low key but very effective. An early entry in the re-emergence of Romanian cinema and a calling card for a new auteur.
Porumboiu found here an extremely deft way to make an impossibly grand statement without getting the least bit heavy about it. Not heavy until the end. This thing is dry-ass funny wisdom until the culminating karate chop to the throats of its three stooges. And us. We are made to choke on our laughter. All laughter, since forever: to laugh from inside the nightmare of history because no nightmare is all nightmare.
It gets off to a slow start, at first I was worried the humor might be too subtle and culturally-specific for my tastes (especially since Porumboiu's next film 'Police, Adjective' bored me to tears); but it eventually won me over in a big way, thanks in large part to the fine comic nuances of stars Mircea Andreescu, Teodor Corban, and Ion Sapdaru. A charmingly offbeat, intimately funny little film.
Flawlessly written, brilliantly economical gray comedy about the snowball effect of human pettiness and the chaos that ensues when we examine our most cherished illusions too closely. Fantastic performances by all three leads. Despite its extreme staticness, the camera always seems to be just where it should be. Great example of the knack of former Eastern Bloc filmmakers for making the bleak beautiful.
As my Hockley (better) half pointed out, 'tis a pity they did not translate the title from Romanian verbatim. Nonetheless, enough wry wit and ridiculum here to choke a 'pisica vagabonda'.
All of the improvised silence and pregnant pauses used to tremendous effect by the writers, directors, and caustic cast.
A beautiful, brutally ironic film. Despite the revolution, some people still choose to interrogate and persecute others as though sitting on the old tribunals. Loved the beginning, when we see the position of women has not advanced. Graceful, honest remembrance at the end by the older fellow is perfect counterpart to all the inane political posturing that comes before.