THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF NICOLAE CEAUSESCU
Monday, November 18
(2010, Andrei Ujica) Thousands of hours of official/propaganda footage and even home movies edited – without narration – to document the rise and fall of the notorious leader. 35mm. Approx. 180 min.
“Cinema’s propagandistic power is in full effect in Andrei Ujica’s montage epic, The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu, a contemporary fresco starring Romania’s fallen ruler and his wife, Elena. A radical and chilling project, the film concludes the filmmaker’s trilogy exploring the end of communism which began with the landmark Videograms for a Revolution... Autobiography defies categorization and functions closest to a Vertovian “film-object” wherein fragments of reality are edited together from an inventory of images in order to illustrate a higher truth. But what constitutes reality when its images have been stage-managed into baroque pageantry or quasi-Hollywood musicals by a delusional dictator?... Eschewing voice-over commentary, the film’s brilliant montage and subtle sound reconstruction create a sui generis film, lying somewhere between Godard’s Histoire(s) du cinéma and Vertov’s Man With a Movie Camera. Four years in the making and culled from one thousand hours of archival footage – both state sanctioned and private – this spellbinding adventure unfolds as if from the nostalgic, solipsistic memory of Ceausescu himself.”
— Andréa Picard, Toronto International Film Festival