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12:08 East of Bucharest

3.4 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

16 years after the Revolution and just days before Christmas, a local television station in Bucharest has invited several guests to share their moments of glory, as they allegedly stormed city hall, chanting down with Ceasescu!, before Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife fled the presidential palace by helicopter so many years ago.

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Product Details

  • Actors: Mircea Andreescu, Teodor Corban, Ion Sapdaru, Mirela Cioaba, Luminita Gheorghiu
  • Directors: Corneliu Porumboiu
  • Writers: Corneliu Porumboiu
  • Producers: Corneliu Porumboiu, Daniel Burlac
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Tartan Video
  • DVD Release Date: October 9, 2007
  • Run Time: 89 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000TLONGW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,440 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "12:08 East of Bucharest" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I first saw "12:08 East of Bucharest (A fost sau n-a fost?)" last year at the International Chicago Film Festival, where I absolutely fell in love with it. I thought it was the best film I saw at the festival. Since then I have went on and on about how funny the film was. Today it opened in Chicago and I went to see it again. Some of the magic was gone after a second viewing but that probably has more to do with me then the film.

The film is the directorial debut of Corneliu Porumboiu, whom prior to this had only directed two short films. "12:08 East of Bucharest" comes on the heels of a sudden rush of interest in Romanian cinema. Last year "The Death of Mr. Lazarescu" was distributed here, which was one of my favorite films of the year, and this year the winner of the golden palm at the Cannes Film Festival was also a Romanian film entitled "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (4 luni, 3 saptamini si 2 zile)".

This film puts into question whether or not a certain town in Romania took part in the revolution on December 22nd, 1989. A local television show, hosted by Virgil Jderescu (Teodor Corban) is going to celebrate the sixteenth anniversary of that fateful day. On the show will be two guest, each of whom claim to have been there. Tiberiu Manescu (Ion Sapdaru, who appeared in one of Porumboiu's short films, "A Trip to the City" and is also in "The Paper Will Be Blue", also dealing with the Romanian Revolution) is a history teacher, with several debts, and a slight drinking problem. He says he and three other teachers showed up at the town square to protest and rejoice at the decline of dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and the end of communism.
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Format: DVD
In America it's frequently a topic of conversation: "Where were you when President Kennedy was assassinated?" Most likely for another generation it will be, "Where were you during the events of 9/11?" For Romania's `12:08 East of Bucharest,' television talk show host, Jderescu (Ion Sapdara), asks the big question: "Was there a Revolution?" Referring to the events of Christmas, 1989, when Romanian dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu, was executed, Jderescu questions two guests during a panel discussion, seeking the true nature of those events. His guest experts are Emanoil Piscoci (Mircea Andreescus), the elder, and Professor Tiberia Manescu (Teo Corban), the younger, two dullards who understandably have difficulty making a commitment to their testimony. The core of his interview attempts to show where they were and what part did they play during those life-changing events.

Part human comedy, part gentle satire, the film zeroes in on the lives of these three men with all their mundane wrappings to reveal an amusing and honest portrait of regular people during revolutionary events. What I like about this film is that it uses a feather rather than a mallet to debunk the romantic notions of bravery and folklore to get at the truth of the matter.

Before the interview we find Jderescu, an alcoholic who drives up debt and has a superficial friendship with a Chinese fireworks salesman. Noting that, like Italy, Romania is prone to celebrate Christmas with firecrackers, the film finds opportunities to show annoying pranksters taking advantage of a noisy novelty during a central holiday--like we do for the Fourth of July. The Professor comes across like a paper tiger as he tries to intimidate his students, yet assigns them an elective term topic about The French Revolution.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The film itself is witty and I enjoyed it immensely. Unfortunately I did not get to watch it on the dvd I bought because it arrived damaged, something I didn't discover until outside the 30-day window.
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Enjoyed cinematography, style and overall feel of film. Humorous but also educational in the respects of providing examples of how people define, selectively remember and typify events over time. Running gag with fireworks delightful.
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This movie is amazing. If you liked, or just appreciated, "The Death of Mr. Lazarescu" then you are going to love this movie. This is not a light movie, it is a movie that makes you think, and it is especially meaningfull for Romanians. The cultural aspects are quite representative, and Romanians have lots to derive out of it, especially in terms of self-improvement (the character of Chan, the Chinese immigrant, is very usefull for this purpose). The one side note that I would like to make is that Romania is changing fast, and while this movie archives the way things looked (like the street views), these are changing fast...in Bucharest many of those buildings have been repaired and look unrecognizable...completely tranformed (and done well). If you have been to Romania five years ago, then you know it in the past, not as it is in the present. But anyways, I am quite proud when my college professors are asking me about the new cinema movement coming out of Romania, and I think this movie will be a great one to brag about.
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Format: DVD
The characters are richly portrayed and quite believable as colorful, local personalities. With a very small budget and cast (maybe 5-6 people?) this is independent film making at its best. At a discussion after the American premiere at Telluride, the director said that he was inspired to write 12:08 after witnessing just such a program on a local television station, also years after the fact. Very rewarding and worth investing 90 minutes for.
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