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Tales from the Golden Age (2011)



Average Rating: 6.4/10
Critic Reviews: 6
Fresh: 6 | Rotten: 0

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 1,403

My Rating

Movie Info

The final 15 years of the Ceausescu regime were the worst in Romania's history. Nonetheless, the propaganda machine of that time referred without fail to that period as "the golden age"... Tales from the Golden Age adapts for screen the most popular urban myths of the period. Comic, bizarre, surprising myths abounded, myths that drew on the often surreal events of everyday life under the communist regime. Humor is what kept Romanians alive, and Tales from the Golden Age aims to re-capture that

Feb 14, 2012

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All Critics (31) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (29) | Rotten (2) | DVD (1)

The collection is a mixed bag, although there are no clunkers.

August 26, 2011 Full Review Source: New York Post
New York Post
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There are moments, especially in the first two tales, that conjure a maniacal Chaplinesque verve.

August 25, 2011 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
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Bracketed by the Ceausescu anthem, the movie recalls a social disaster in painstaking detail and with a measure of ambivalent love.

August 24, 2011 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
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Though much lighter than the country's art-house fare of the past few years, the collection serves as a sampler of the much-heralded Romanian cinema.

October 15, 2010 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
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It's a frustrating case of individual triumph cancelling out collective cohesion in this sporadically enjoyable, if tonally mismatched, anthology of five short films.

October 30, 2009 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
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[The directors'] youth and talent should allay fears that the country's film explosion is incapable of hitting a broad range of notes, and offer hope that more mainstream, home-grown offerings can spur cinema building within Romania.

May 21, 2009 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

'Golden' opportunity for foreign-language film buffs.

December 2, 2011 Full Review Source: Boston Herald
Boston Herald

All the stories have their merits, celebrating a people amusingly out of step with their stalwart, demented leaders.

November 29, 2011 Full Review Source: Boston Phoenix
Boston Phoenix

This deeply human array of short films dealing with Communist Romania provides many a well-observed laugh and moment of hard-pressed economic truth.

August 25, 2011 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

it is hard to comprehend a mindset that wouldn't be entertained and invigorated by the six shorts that make up Tales from the Golden Age.

August 25, 2011 Full Review Source:

Puiu's a skillful widescreen filmmaker, but he's also an urban snob who finds farm animals backward and funny.

August 24, 2011 Full Review Source: New York Press | Comments (9)
New York Press

Has the so-called Romanian New Wave slowed to a trickle?

August 21, 2011 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

Boasts tonal cohesiveness but also a dispiriting lack of bite.

January 21, 2011 Full Review Source: House Next Door
House Next Door

All the short movies that make up Tales From the Golden Age employ the sort of black humour that suggests you'd better laugh, or you'll cry.

October 15, 2010 Full Review Source: Jam! Movies
Jam! Movies

More often than not, this mixed bag hits its mark, but in two drawn-out stories, the rhythm, not to mention the absurdist plot twists, fall flat.

February 21, 2010 Full Review Source:

Every tale is engaging, but not wildly amusing - still, I can imagine Romanian viewers enjoying it. In other words, perhaps you had to be there.

November 6, 2009 Full Review Source: Sunday Times (UK)
Sunday Times (UK)

This is a low-key, deadpan movie and the jokes creep up on you.

November 6, 2009 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

Flashes of bleak humour makes this wry portrait a compelling experience.

October 30, 2009 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Shot with clarity and plenty of dry humour, this impressive collection of five short films is proof of the youthful vitality of the New Romanian Cinema.

October 30, 2009 Full Review Source: Film4

While this wry, sometimes poignant collection ultimately runs a little long, it serves as a useful introduction to the talent that makes Romania the place to look for exciting new voices in cinema.

October 30, 2009 Full Review Source: Times [UK]
Times [UK]

The dark laughter involved is Romania's way of staying sane, not merely at the time but, also, in a way, right now. Comedy is a way of looking back at the horror without the rage and despair becoming unendurable.

October 30, 2009 Full Review Source: Guardian [UK]
Guardian [UK]

Audience Reviews for Tales from the Golden Age

Tales from the Golden Age is a great collection of short films based on urban myths/folk tales from the Ceausescu regime (referred to as The Golden Age by communists) when Romania was under communist rule. Each short film is quirky, funny, a little strange and very entertaining, much like how folk tales are. It's a brilliantly conceived idea and very easy to understand no matter how good your understanding of Romanian history is. The first film I found particularly funny, I really do hope that myth is based on fact!
June 6, 2013

Super Reviewer

Five shorts from a five-director team make up this brilliant portrait of Ceausescu's Romania, each of them revealing a sad truth about how tough life was but coming at it from a whimsical and vaguely nostalgic angle. (The title refers, of course, to what the dictator himself named the time during which he ruled, and is used ironically, here.) We start in a small town, in which the residents go to pains to prepare for a government visit; then, we move inside the party machine and follow a photographer as he bungles an official photo while trying to both make his superiors proud (idealogues, all of them) and hit the deadline for the morning paper. A young woman gets in league with an attractive scammer who loves watching Bonnie and Clyde in a story that feels a lot like Badlands. A family gets the pig it was promised, but instead of it being already butchered, it's delivered alive to their tiny apartment. And finally, we follow a truck driver transporting chickens for export in order to afford to buy eggs, in an attempt to give his wife the one thing she wants and maybe restore the love to their marriage. Each vignette closes with a fairy tale-esque ending - though none of them are "they lived happily ever after" - and a moral, making the fusion of folktale and urban legend complete and providing a window into the difficulties of life in 1980s Romania. The acting is a little weak in places (you can tell even if you don't speak Romanian), and on the whole the film feels a bit too long (nearly two and a half hours), but Cristian Mungiu is a rising star of cinema and this work does not otherwise disappoint. Definitely a film maker to keep an eye on - I have a feeling he's going to get a big U.S. or U.K. or French budget and wow us one day soon.
January 10, 2013

Super Reviewer

A dramatization of five urban legends that circulated in Romania under communist rule: propagandists make an error retouching a photo of Ceausescu, a family tries to figure out hoe to kill a live pig in their apartment without alerting the neighbors, and people run scams to acquire bottles and eggs. It's important as a document of folkloric resistance, but non-Romanians will likely be bored by this series of mildly ironic shaggy dog stories.
March 7, 2012
Greg S

Super Reviewer

Comedic yet tragic tales of the absurd life of Romanians during the days of Ceaucescu's communist rule.
November 4, 2009

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Erinnerungen an das goldene Zeitalter (DE)
  • Tales From the Golden Age (Amintiri din epoca de aur) (UK)
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