The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu

Autobiografia lui Nicolae Ceauşescu

“Andrei Ujică chillingly reveals… the manner in which a dictator constructs, and comes to believe in, his own cult of personality.” — Pamela, Troy, San Francisco International Film Festival

Director: Andrei Ujika
Year: 2010
Country: Romania
Running time: 180 mins

Producer: Velvet Moraru
Editor: Dana Bunescu
Colour and B&W 

With: Nicolae Ceauşescu, Elena Ceauşescu, Chivu Stoica, Emil Bodnăras, Ion Gheorghe Maurer, Manea Mănescu, Charles de Gaulle, Alexander Dubček, Richard Nixon, Mao Zedong, Jimmy Carter, Elizabeth II, Gheorghe Cioară, Constantin Pârvulescu, Kim Il-sung

Festivals: Cannes (Out of Competition), Melbourne, Toronto, New York, London 2010; Rotterdam, San Francisco 2011

This ingenious found-footage assemblage audaciously documents the Romanian dictatorship of Nicolae Ceauşescu solely by repurposing a treasure trove of official Communist-era newsreels and propaganda. The result is a mordant fiction in which we see Ceauşescu hobnob with the Queen at Buckingham Palace, host President Nixon on a state visit to Bucharest and receive a spectacularly weird, almost psychedelic welcome to North Korea, but see nothing of the bread queues, the overflowing orphanages or the economic ruin that crippled his country. — MM

“‘Autobiography’ is the operative word. This is the story of Ceauşescu as he would have written it in moving images if he could have. Romanians, of course, will write a mirror-opposite story as they watch, and the ironies will be rich – a black enough comedy to make one weep. But even for those with only the barest knowledge of this particular history, the movie is fascinating.” — Amy Taubin, Artforum 

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