Tuesday, 18 January 2011
Tales From the Golden Age 
The Romanian New Wave has given us some of the most brilliant films of the last decade. And Cristian Mungiu, who made the devastating 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, has continued in the tradition by collaborating with 4 other directors for Tales from the Golden Age, a seemingly light but a decidedly black comedy on life in the Ceausescu regime. The film comprises of 6 chapters – short films, if you will – depicting the various facets of everyday life under the draconian rule, with all their irreverence, ironies, silliness and banality, and are filled with the kind of caustic wit and absurdist, wry, tar-black humour that Romanian films like 12:08 East of Bucharest and California Dreamin’ have made the country’s own. The tales, though of mundane, tragi-comic existences of common people, have been presented as urban legends of sorts, and have been captured through brilliant performances, sharp storytelling and naturalistic cinematography. Most of the seemingly innocuous stories end badly for their protagonists, yet what remain are their humanism, and biting commentaries on the socio-political times they lived in. The shorts include the disastrous preparation of Ceausescu’s arrival in a small village, the preparation of a party-sponsored photograph that again ends on a hilarious note, the innovative attempts of a family to slaughter a live pig without much raucous, a laconic truck-driver who tries to earn a few extra bucks by selling eggs, a young girl who is inadvertently drawn into a minor racket involving empty bottles, and a zealous party-member who tries bringing in education in a remote village.
Directors: Cristian Mungiu, Constantin Popescu, Hanno Hofer, Ioano Uricaru, Razvan Marculescu
Genre: Drama/Black Comedy/Social Satire/Political Satire