Screened as part of NZIFF 2006
After Mr Lazerescu in 2005, Romania takes more Cannes glory, winning the Camera d’Or for best first film for Corneliu Porumboiu’s sardonic take on retrospective heroism. Two guests are invited to recall their moments of revolutionary glory for their small-town TV station. One is an elderly retiree and sometime Santa Claus. The other is a history teacher, whom we meet with a ferocious hangover and no memory of having spent the night in a bar or having gravely insulted a Chinese shopkeeper. Phone-in viewers offer their own accounts of whether or not these two paragons were storming the local town hall when Romanian dictator Ceausescu abandoned the presidential palace at 12:08 on Dec. 22, 1989.
“Sixteen years after the revolution that freed Romania from Communist rule, there is still debate about whether it delivered all that was promised. [This] buoyant little comedy puts its finger on the problem in the best tradition of East European humor, savvy but concrete, gentle but sharp as a knife... The film's power lies in its simplicity.” — Deborah Young, Variety