Tales from the Golden Age Reviews

  • Jan 11, 2016

    Magical absurdity of Ceausescu era in small funny tales.

    Magical absurdity of Ceausescu era in small funny tales.

  • Apr 17, 2014

    It should have been a bit shorter (the last two shorts grow increasingly dull and listless), but when it connects (which it does at least 75% of the time), this collection skewers the delusional absurdity of the Ceausescu regime with brilliant deadpan humor.

    It should have been a bit shorter (the last two shorts grow increasingly dull and listless), but when it connects (which it does at least 75% of the time), this collection skewers the delusional absurdity of the Ceausescu regime with brilliant deadpan humor.

  • Feb 10, 2013

    A well made movie comprising a few small stories one after the other. Such a subtly humorous take on the lives in that era and I'm sure most of these stories are actually true which makes it even more funny !

    A well made movie comprising a few small stories one after the other. Such a subtly humorous take on the lives in that era and I'm sure most of these stories are actually true which makes it even more funny !

  • Jan 09, 2013

    Brilliant script and acting!

    Brilliant script and acting!

  • Nov 25, 2012

    Such a great collection of true stories. A dark comedy with beautiful portraits of an era of horror in Romania.

    Such a great collection of true stories. A dark comedy with beautiful portraits of an era of horror in Romania.

  • Daniel P Super Reviewer
    Nov 03, 2012

    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.

    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.

  • Oct 17, 2012

    Five stories. 2.5 hours. It goes quickly. The Party is in charge but the people are resilient. Most of the time. There are many covert operations, many mishaps, and nearly as many poignant moments. How does one survive under a communist regime where food and electricity are not certain? This film provides different glimpses into urban legends from Romania that try to answer the question. They make you laugh at the absurdity of it all; and then they make you think about why it seems funny. Very worthy of a viewing.

    Five stories. 2.5 hours. It goes quickly. The Party is in charge but the people are resilient. Most of the time. There are many covert operations, many mishaps, and nearly as many poignant moments. How does one survive under a communist regime where food and electricity are not certain? This film provides different glimpses into urban legends from Romania that try to answer the question. They make you laugh at the absurdity of it all; and then they make you think about why it seems funny. Very worthy of a viewing.

  • Sep 12, 2012

    Good portait of Romanian life during Ceausescu's time. Great story telling.

    Good portait of Romanian life during Ceausescu's time. Great story telling.

  • Jesse O Super Reviewer
    Aug 23, 2012

    I don't know but, despite the rating, this film didn't really do it for me. The best thing about the movie is just finding out about the myths that were around during the last 15 years of Ceausescu's regime. It's cool to find about the mindset of the Romanian people during these hard times and how they survived. The thing with the movie is that the first 3 short films are all really good. The last half of the 4th one was also very good and the last 2 short films simply didn't match up. I don't want to say they're bad but perhaps they should've had the short films in reverse order. That way you save the best for last instead of having the movie peak at 20 minutes into it. Again not that I'm saying any of the short films themselves are bad, but it is a mixed bag. The first short film would have to be the funniest of them all, at least in my opinion, but they're all decent and they all sort of reflect the thoughts of the Romanian people at that time. So while I wouldn't exactly recommend it, I did somewhat enjoy my time with this movie, even if it was a bit of a disappointment. I just have a feeling that these myths sort of read better than being told in movie form.

    I don't know but, despite the rating, this film didn't really do it for me. The best thing about the movie is just finding out about the myths that were around during the last 15 years of Ceausescu's regime. It's cool to find about the mindset of the Romanian people during these hard times and how they survived. The thing with the movie is that the first 3 short films are all really good. The last half of the 4th one was also very good and the last 2 short films simply didn't match up. I don't want to say they're bad but perhaps they should've had the short films in reverse order. That way you save the best for last instead of having the movie peak at 20 minutes into it. Again not that I'm saying any of the short films themselves are bad, but it is a mixed bag. The first short film would have to be the funniest of them all, at least in my opinion, but they're all decent and they all sort of reflect the thoughts of the Romanian people at that time. So while I wouldn't exactly recommend it, I did somewhat enjoy my time with this movie, even if it was a bit of a disappointment. I just have a feeling that these myths sort of read better than being told in movie form.

  • Jul 31, 2012

    This film reminded me of Mexico... for some strange reason. Could it be the scene where the driver comes back to his trailer and he finds it without front tire??? or the one where the bureaucrats are herding people to please a few politician of the ruling party??? who knows, but it brought me "sweet memories"!!!

    This film reminded me of Mexico... for some strange reason. Could it be the scene where the driver comes back to his trailer and he finds it without front tire??? or the one where the bureaucrats are herding people to please a few politician of the ruling party??? who knows, but it brought me "sweet memories"!!!