Thursday, January 31, 2008

A Fost sau n-a Fost? (12:08 East of Bucharest)

The more I read about the New Wave of Romanian Directors the more curious I get about their movies, so do not be surprised that I found this incredible hilarious very satiric, sarcastic, sharp and dark comedy, that made me cry out of laughing and I’m not used to find movies that make me REALLY laugh.

This Corneliu Porumboiu film starts presenting the three main characters in their everyday routines with nothing much happening, just the regular things for a pensioner, a teacher and a TV show host. But the pensioner gets again the opportunity to play Santa Claus, the teacher has a terrible hangover and spends all his paycheck paying debts and the TV show host, who also owns the TV station, has to do a Christmas show on December 22nd, the 16th anniversary of the Romanian revolution. All this happens in the first half of the movie and is slow paced similar to real time, but very engaging.

The second part we have the TV show host picking up the pensioner and the teacher, as one of his original guests didn’t confirm. Then starts the TV show emission with the topic: Was there or wasn’t there a Revolution in their town (Vaslui) prior to 12:08? The hour refers to the exact time Nicaolae Ceauşescu fled Romania. By the way and just in case you’re wondering, the literal translation of the movie title is “Was There or Wasn’t There?

I just love how all these great Romanian directors start movies with simple things going on and then they just throw everything in the screen for you to see and hear and have all kind of emotions exploding. Porumboiu is not an exception but he ingeniously mixes very serious matters for ANY country that has had revolutions with the most sharp, caustic, dark and sarcastic humor!!! Amazing! This time the emotional stimuli transforms into laughter and gee, even when you cannot stop laughing you realize how serious are the matters they are discussing in that hilarious TV Show. Fantastic! Obviously the three actors give excellent performances with outstanding comic timing and I’m laughing just by seeing the picture I’m including here for you readers that have seen this movie and for my selfish pleasure.
This fantastic movie has a very poetic beginning and end with excellent cinematography at both moments and is the winner of the Camera d’Or (for best first film) at 2006 Cannes. Also have other awards and nominations in awards and festivals all over the world.

This is a movie that I strongly recommend to everyone that wants to laugh hard, but I know is not for all audiences, you have to like art cinema and better have to have lived in countries where they had revolutions or coup d’état, so you can REALLY get all the outstanding humor.

Big Enjoy!!!

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