12:08 EAST OF BUCHAREST
Wednesday, November 20
(2006, Corneliu Porumboiu) For the 16th anniversary of Ceausescu’s fall, a provincial TV station produces a retrospective but can find only two eye-witnesses: a hard-drinking history teacher and a part-time Santa Claus. Gentle New Wave comedy. 35mm. Approx. 89 min.
“Focusing on personal eccentricities and foibles, 12:08 East of Bucharest has a sly modesty reminiscent of the long-ago Czech new wave, exhibiting a sense of film form that evokes the best of the rueful Czech comedies. The movie’s circular structure suggests that if history is a joke, the forces that disrupt its progress are nothing short of miraculous.”
– J. Hoberman, The Village Voice
“The most unlikely subjects often make for the most deliciously comic films. That’s the case with 12:08 East of Bucharest, which carefully builds a sly and unexpected human comedy out of a dispute over whether a revolution would still be a revolution if nobody showed up. Bucharest is one of the wave of new films from Romania that have captured the imagination of the cinema world. Winner of the prestigious Caméra d’Or, for best first film, at Cannes in 2006. What this droll effort shares with its Romanian brethren... is a bleak outlook on life, even if in this case it’s leavened with a decidedly wacky sense of humor. As filmmaker Porumboiu says, ‘We Romanians have, in a way, invented absurdity. Or at least we’ve made an art of it.’”
– Kenneth Turan, The Los Angeles Times