Monday 13 May 2013
6:20 pm at Coprnerhouse: 70 Oxford Street, Manchester, M1 5NH
Tickets: £7.50, £4 (concession)
’12:08 East of Bucharest’ by Corneliu Porumboiu and ‘The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceauşescu’ by Andrei Ujica are part of ‘Anguish and Enthusiasm’ exhibition at Cornerhouse. The show explores social contexts in the wake of a revolution. Where revolutions can serve as landmark shifts in the history of a nation, people or a cause, it is often the post-revolutionary period that reveals most about the mindset and outlook of those that map the new terrain.
Corneliu Porumboiu’s ’12:08 East of Bucharest’ is a dark political comedy which is simple yet brilliantly caustic movie. In a rundown town 16 years after the fall of dictator Ceauşescu, a pretentious local TV presenter decides to mark the anniversary with a phone-in programme looking back on that glorious day and asking: Was there a revolution in their town? He rounds up a couple of talking heads – a depressed, drunk schoolteacher and a grouchy pensioner – to recall the events. The resulting broadcast is a comic gem that equally raises issues about the state of the former Soviet Bloc.
One of the most original European filmmakers over the past two decades, Andrei Ujica has, in ‘The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceauşescu’, produced a worthy and innovative addition to contemporary documentary filmmaking. Composed from over 1000 hours of footage from the Romanian National Film archive, Ujica masterfully unveils the rise, dominance and precipitous fall of one of European communism’s most notorious dictators. With the exception of the video footage of Nicolae and Elena Ceauşescu’s impromptu trial which bookends the film, all the footage used had been approved by the state censors, or is private footage shot by intimates of the Ceauşescu family.
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