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A fost sau n-a fost?, (12:08 East of Bucharest) (2007)



Average Rating: 7.8/10
Reviews Counted: 47
Fresh: 45 | Rotten: 2

With a witty script full of satirical overtones and dry humor, 12:08 East of Bucharest is a thoroughly enjoyable Romanian comedy.


Average Rating: 7.8/10
Critic Reviews: 18
Fresh: 17 | Rotten: 1

With a witty script full of satirical overtones and dry humor, 12:08 East of Bucharest is a thoroughly enjoyable Romanian comedy.



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Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 5,070

My Rating

Movie Info

Gil-Scott Heron once wrote "the revolution will not be televised," but one Romanian newsman attempts to put his nation's revolution on the air after the fact in this satiric comedy from writer and director Corneliu Porumboiu. It's the sixteenth anniversary of the revolt that removed Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu from power in Romania, and Jderescu (Ion Sapdaru) is the host of a televised public affairs show who wants to do a special program on the revolution. Jderescu's idea is to bring

Oct 9, 2007


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All Critics (48) | Top Critics (19) | Fresh (45) | Rotten (2) | DVD (7)

Dry comedies from eastern Europe tend to cast a skeptical eye on anything and everything, which is certainly the case with Corneliu Porumboiu's debut feature.

December 4, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

12:08 East of Bucharest is easier to admire than enjoy, funnier to describe than actually watch.

November 30, 2007 Full Review Source: Detroit Free Press
Detroit Free Press
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Porumboiu starts off making a mordant slice of life, but he gradually entwines the personal and the historical, then ends on a poignant note. The story and situation are slight, but in the best possible way.

October 6, 2007 Full Review Source: AV Club
AV Club
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Porumboiu's satire about history and short memories is a modest, deadpan masterpiece.

October 6, 2007 Full Review Source: Time Out New York
Time Out New York
Top Critic IconTop Critic

12:08 East of Bucharest cleverly takes on the aftermath of the December 1989 revolution in Romania that resulted in the overthrow of Nicolae Ceaucescu. It's a movie that seems simple, yet its subtle and brilliant complexity is not to be denied.

September 14, 2007 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Black comedy with a subtle political edge.

August 17, 2007 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

...12:08 East Of Bucharest doesn't pretend to have a position on the fallout of the Romanian Revolution. Instead it contends that different questions need to be asked and considered about post-Communist life...

December 7, 2013 Full Review Source: The Playlist
The Playlist

The movie provokes low-key laughs (yes, it's a comedy), but with a sad overtone.

October 12, 2007 Full Review Source: Charlotte Observer
Charlotte Observer

You will laugh till the streetlights blink on again in the damp Romanian twilight.

October 6, 2007 Full Review Source: The Nation
The Nation

While 12:08 East of Bucharest could take more than one viewing to truly appreciate, it's worth the commitment.

October 6, 2007 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

Dryly funny throughout its first half, the film truly comes to life in its final 45 minutes.

October 6, 2007 Full Review Source: Cinematical

Porumboiu's minimalist approach concentrates the movie's focus on its mournful characters, so disillusioned with their post-Communist life they question the history that led to it.

September 28, 2007
Salt Lake Tribune

The self-indulgent 12:08 East of Bucharest certainly takes its time getting to the point. In fact, the first third of this film could have been trimmed without much damage. And this Romanian comedy-drama is only an hour and a half in length.

September 27, 2007 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

The film leaves off on a perfect note of hopeful melancholy.

September 13, 2007 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Human, savvy, funny, well observed; kudos to director Porumboiu for making something from nothing

August 23, 2007 Full Review Source: Movie Habit
Movie Habit

Extremely clever filmmaking--sharp and very funny, but also challenging and packed with relevance.

August 17, 2007 Full Review Source: Shadows on the Wall
Shadows on the Wall

The only problem with the new Romanian cinema seems to be titles few can easily remember - but some eccentricity is permissible when the films are so good.

August 17, 2007 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

A melancholy rumination on the failed hopes of Eastern Europe after the Cold War, infused with a sense of farce and the irrecoverable nature of the past.

August 17, 2007 Full Review Source: Independent

A terrifically droll and slyly incisive comedy.

August 17, 2007 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

The central European tradition of failed aspirations, lost ideals and forlorn eccentrics goes back to early Forman, or indeed Chekhov, but the Latin Romanians bring their own awareness of the distant big city alternately beckoning and frightening.

August 17, 2007 Full Review Source: Financial Times
Financial Times

It won the best first film award at Cannes; somehow, it doesn't seem quite substantial enough to justify that accolade.

August 17, 2007 Full Review Source: Guardian

Beautifully observed and very funny, this film is a real treat.

August 17, 2007 Full Review Source: Times [UK]
Times [UK]

Audience Reviews for A fost sau n-a fost?, (12:08 East of Bucharest)

Romanian films are certainly where it's at. The past 5 years have thrown up simple yet engaging works unmatched by the majority of the world. They have the ability to comment on Romanian society, with a sense of dark humour and without being too preachy. 12:08 East from Bucharest tells of a small town and whether or not it had anything to do with the 1989 revolution. The film sets up it's three protagonists and the world they live in. It manages to use the small town setting to it's advantage as we get a lot of back-story through the townsfolk recollections of each other. Over half the film is a TV broadcast, making it almost static, given humourous life by an incompetent cameraman and his less than adequate tripods. Luckily the dialogue, bickering and mystery is enough to keep the audience fully entertained. It's amazing how brilliantly scripted dialogue can be more enthralling than car chases, explosions and slapstick. The cinematography is also beautiful, with an exceptional silent climax as the streetlights come alive at dusk.
December 28, 2009

Super Reviewer

One of the funniest films of 2007.
January 23, 2008

Super Reviewer

[font=Century Gothic]"12:08 East of Bucharest" has two things in common with other Romanian movies I have seen in the last couple of years:[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]1. The favoring of long, static takes.(To highlight this, there is a running joke about handheld cameras.)[/font]
[font=Century Gothic]2. The movie takes place in a single day.(What is up with this, by the way?)[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]This day is December 22, 2005, the 16th anniversary of the end of Communist rule in Romania. To commemorate this, Virgil Jderescu(Teodor Corban), a former textile engineer, is hosting a special program at his television station on the events of that day in the town he lives in. As guests, he has Tiberiu Manescu(Ion Sapdaru), an alcoholic university professor, and Emanoil Piscoci(Mircea Andreescu) who has just been drafted into being the neighborhood Santa Claus again.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]"12:08 East of Bucharest" is a deadpan comic movie that is about a television show that lies somewhere between bad public access television and Monty Python. On the serious side, the movie is also a meditation on the role of history in everyday lives. The world in general may change but life goes on. And it is clear that nothing much has improved for these characters in the past sixteen years. [/font]
July 11, 2008
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

A tremendously funny film about recollection but moreso how we often develop stories in order to make us part of larger events or experiences. A true gem.
May 2, 2013
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • 12:08 östlich von Bukarest (DE)
  • 12:08 East Of Bucharest (UK)
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