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

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Movie Info

On the anniversary of the overthrow of President Nicolae Ceausescu, Romanian talk show host Virgil Jderescu (Teo Corban) arranges a program dedicated to analyzing the town of Vaslui's role in the revolution. He recruits a strange cast of characters to answer questions, including Emanoil Piscoci (Mircea Andreescu) and Tiberiu Manescu (Ion Sapdaru). What they find, in a comedic examination of revolution, is that many Romanians question whether Vaslui had any role at all in the revolution.

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News & Interviews for 12:08 East of Bucharest

Critic Reviews for 12:08 East of Bucharest

All Critics (47) | Top Critics (24) | Fresh (45) | Rotten (2)

Audience Reviews for 12:08 East of Bucharest

  • Feb 25, 2021
    An amusing dissection of how people try to contextualize major historical events they witnessed.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • May 02, 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.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Oct 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!
    Panta O Super Reviewer
  • Dec 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.
    Luke B Super Reviewer

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