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

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

Page 1 of 13
Luke B

Super Reviewer

December 28, 2009
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.
Michael S

Super Reviewer

January 23, 2008
One of the funniest films of 2007.
Harlequin68
Harlequin68

Super Reviewer

July 11, 2008
[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]
John B

Super Reviewer

May 2, 2013
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.
PantaOz
PantaOz

Super Reviewer

October 14, 2012
This is a satire so well done that most of the time you won't even notice how many things ridicules at the same time! Romanian cinema is on a roll, and most of the films are like this one - warmly naturalistic emphasizing character and performance over formal mastery. There is a style but the real virtuosity is more expressed through very witty long conversations, allowed to play out in precisely composed frames. A real treat to enjoy!

The director Corneliu Porumboiu won the 2006 Camera d'Or Prize (for best first film) at the Cannes Film Festival for this really seriously funny story set in the city of Vaslui, centering on a group of characters who revisit the Romanian Revolution of 1989 which brought an end to the communist regime. Just imagine TV show with a smug TV host Ion Sapdaru and the two men who eventually agree to help Sapdaru: drunken, deep-in-debt history teacher Teo Corban, and grumpy old Santa Claus impersonator Mircea Andreescu...These guys made me laugh even when they were dead serious! The full English title refers to the setting of the film and the time of day at which Romanian president Nicolae Ceauşescu fled following the revolution, 12:08 pm on December 22, 1989. The original Romanian title roughly translates to "Was There or Wasn't There?", referring to the film's central issue: did Vaslui have any part in the 1989 revolution? The answer depends on whether the city registered any protest before the moment of Ceauşescu's flight...

If you like to question many things and still enjoy a slyly comic tone with lots of self-mockery, I will recommend this work of art!
William G

Super Reviewer

December 13, 2007
Too deadpan for its own good. Feels long even under 90 minutes.
logged81
September 1, 2008
Was there a revolution in this little town, seems that everyone knows everyone. Not, anyone can really say for certain what really happened. I did like what the old man said. Does it really matter. Obviously not. Yeah, quirky movie. Good choice for me.
May 22, 2014
Dry humor everywhere, this is a potrayal of small town people trying to put the dots of history in their own town.
PantaOz
PantaOz

Super Reviewer

October 14, 2012
This is a satire so well done that most of the time you won't even notice how many things ridicules at the same time! Romanian cinema is on a roll, and most of the films are like this one - warmly naturalistic emphasizing character and performance over formal mastery. There is a style but the real virtuosity is more expressed through very witty long conversations, allowed to play out in precisely composed frames. A real treat to enjoy!

The director Corneliu Porumboiu won the 2006 Camera d'Or Prize (for best first film) at the Cannes Film Festival for this really seriously funny story set in the city of Vaslui, centering on a group of characters who revisit the Romanian Revolution of 1989 which brought an end to the communist regime. Just imagine TV show with a smug TV host Ion Sapdaru and the two men who eventually agree to help Sapdaru: drunken, deep-in-debt history teacher Teo Corban, and grumpy old Santa Claus impersonator Mircea Andreescu...These guys made me laugh even when they were dead serious! The full English title refers to the setting of the film and the time of day at which Romanian president Nicolae Ceauşescu fled following the revolution, 12:08 pm on December 22, 1989. The original Romanian title roughly translates to "Was There or Wasn't There?", referring to the film's central issue: did Vaslui have any part in the 1989 revolution? The answer depends on whether the city registered any protest before the moment of Ceauşescu's flight...

If you like to question many things and still enjoy a slyly comic tone with lots of self-mockery, I will recommend this work of art!
January 6, 2012
Amuzant si extrem de cotidian, un exemplu excelent de umor romanesc.
May 6, 2011
Funny film, interesting subject and some odd characters. It was worth a watch.
Harlequin68
Harlequin68

Super Reviewer

July 11, 2008
[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]
Virus
February 28, 2008
Don't really see the comedy in this, but it's a tad chuckle worthy. Simple story and well acted.
cr4sh-
November 10, 2007
I'm Romanian so, at the very least, I understood the premise of the movie going in. If you are expecting a comedy, you're out of luck... This is not a comedy, nor is it a drama. It contains aspects of both, but in the end it remains diffictult to define. There is an athosphere or vibe in this movie that is purely European. Compared to a Hollywood movie, it is very slow and, if you're expecting huge payoff at the end, don't. Nonetheless, I was satisfied and think you will be too.
vh
September 3, 2007
[color=black][font=Tahoma]It's a few days before Christmas in a small, grimy, unnamed town in Romania. The kids are all running around setting off firecrackers indoors -- perhaps this is some quaint old Romanian tradition designed to cull the weak-hearted from the gift lists. A lonely, white-haired widower who everyone calls "old man Piscoci" has just agreed to reprise his role as Santa Claus to cover for a last-minute cancellation. An alcoholic history teacher named Manescu struggles to pay off the many people he's borrowed money from. And Jderesku, the owner of the local television station, tries to line up guests to appear on his talk show that evening. The topic: "Was there or was there not a revolution in their town sixteen years earlier?"[/font][/color]

[color=black][font=Tahoma]After a couple of his invited panelists back out, Jderesku recruits Piscoci and Manescu to replace them and personally drives them to the station to assure their prompt arrival. The studio is very basic -- just a table with three chairs in front of a mural of the town square. Filming is done by a single inexperienced cameraman who seems unclear on the purpose of the zoom function.[/font][/color]

[font=Arial][color=black][font=Tahoma]Everything I know about the Romanian revolution and the overthrow of dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, I learned about five minutes ago by reading Wikipedia, something I wish I'd thought to do [i]before[/i] seeing this movie. Apparently, after several days of demonstrations throughout the country, Ceausescu and his wife fled Bucharest in a helicopter on December 22, 1989 at precisely 12:08 PM, and were executed three days later. What Jderesku wants to know is if there were there any demonstrations in his town before 12:08 PM on the day of Ceausescu's overthrow, or did people just start streaming into the town square after Ceausescu was safely deposed. [/font][/color][/font]
[font=Arial][color=black][font=Tahoma][/font][/color][/font]
[font=Arial][color=black][font=Tahoma]It seems a rather odd point to be quibbling about, especially sixteen years after the fact. Manescu insists that he and two others stormed a government building and began demonstrating right around noon on the day in question. A series of callers to the program dispute this. Piscoci, who spends most of the show making paper boats, admits that he didn't join the crowd in the square until after the revolution (assuming there was one) had turned into a celebration.[/font][/color][/font]
[font=Arial][color=black][font=Tahoma][/font][/color][/font]
[font=Arial][color=black][font=Tahoma]In case you can't tell by this description, [i]12:08 East of Bucharest[/i] is classified as a comedy. Though doddering old Piscoci is clearly meant to be a comic character, the only real joke is that he's old and oblivious to the camera. Though there's a smattering of whimsy throughout -- Piscoci convinces Jderesku to stop on the way to the studio so that he can buy a Christmas tree -- most of the film seemed dead serious to me. I'm not sure what possible difference it makes if the town in question staged a 3-man, 8-minute mini-revolution or none at all, but Jderesku is determined to get to the bottom of it. [/font][/color][/font]
[font=Arial][color=black][font=Tahoma][/font][/color][/font]
[font=Arial][color=black][font=Tahoma]What I enjoyed most about this movie were the scenes of the gritty town, which doesn't appear to have benefited much from the revolution, or lack thereof. One of the characters complains that even when it snows, the beauty just dissolves into mud a day later. I doubt that this is sort of image that the Romanian tourist office would like to present, but for some reason it made me want to go there. [/font][/color][/font]
[font=Arial][color=black][font=Tahoma][/font][/color][/font]
[font=Arial][color=black][font=Tahoma]Though it held my interest throughout, this film was more of a curiosity for me than anything else. I guess I just don't really get Romanian humor. [/font][/color][/font]
odditie
January 11, 2007
[font=Arial][font="]10/7 - 12:08 East of Bucharest (Corneliu Porumboiu, 2007, Rental): 7[/font][/font]

[font=Arial][font="]10/8 - Bonnie and Clyde (Arthur Penn, 1967, Watch Instantly): 8[/font][/font]

[font=Arial][font="]10/9 - Bringing Up Baby (Howard Hawks, 1938, Watch Instantly): 7[/font][/font]

[font=Arial][font="]10/11 - Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941, Owned): 9[/font][/font]

[font="][font=Arial]10/12 - Grave of the Fireflies (Isao Takahata, 1988, Rental): 9[/font][/font]
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