Release Date: June 6th, 2007 (Film Forum) by Tartan Films.
The Cast: Mircea Andreescu, Teo Corban, Ion Sapdaru.
Directed by Corneliu Porumboiu.
In Romanian with subtitles.
BASIC PREMISE: Sixteen years after an angry mob forced dictator Nicolae Ceausescu to escape the country at 12:08 December, 22nd 1989, two Romanians, Manescu (Corban) and Piscoci (Andreescu), take part in a live TV show, hosted by Jderescu, (Sapduru), debating whether or not the revolution actually took place.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Although its title sounds dull, 12:08 East of Bucharest gradually becomes more and more fascinating and surprisingly funny as the plot progresses. The length first act introduces the three main characters as they go about their daily activities in a small Romanian town. Manescu, a history teacher, has a drinking problem, so he canít remember what happened the night before at the bar or that he bought a Christmas tree. Piscoci, an elderly man, loves entertaining children in a Santa Claus suit. Meanwhile, Jderescu, a TV show host, looks for guests to be on his upcoming show about the Romanian Revolution. These lengthy introductory scenes have plenty details which help to humanize the characters and to provide a solemn atmosphere in and around the small Romanian town. However, they donít help the plot to go anywhere truly interesting until Manescu and Piscoci finally show up on Jderscuís TV show. At that very moment, the film becomes alive. The smart and refreshing script by writer/director Corneliu Porumboiu allows the show to have a fascinating discussion about whether or not the Revolution actually took place and includes some well-need dry, deadpan humor. All of the actors give a convincing performance, particularly Mircea Andreescu as Piscoci, who ends up being the funniest, most off-beat character. The lively dialogue and absurdity in these later scenes help you to become engaged and intrigued by the plot after getting to know the characters and their small Romanian town in the first act.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: None, other than the deceptive nature of memory.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: None.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 0
IN A NUTSHELL: An intriguing, lively and refreshing deadpan comedy.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater
The "#0-9" Menu