12:08 East of Bucharest Poster

12:08 East of Bucharest (2006)

Comedy  
Rayting:   7.4/10 7219 votes
Country: Romania
Language: English

A local talk show host organizes an alcoholic professor and a pensioner known for playing Santa Claus to decide whether there was ever a revolution in their town Vaslui.

Movie Trailer

User Reviews

sweetnlowdown2 12 October 2006

December 22, 1989. What exactly happened that day in Bucharest? We know Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu left the country bringing about the end of Communism, but, was there ever really a revolt?

This might be a touchy subject for a movie to some Romanians. I mean, after all, the movie is asking questions and challenging the country's history. And there are people who are still alive who can tell us what happened. But, Corneliu Porumboiu's feature lenght directorial debut shouldn't cause any controversy.

"12:08 East of Bucharest" is many things. First of all it is one of the best Romanian movies I have ever seen. It is also one of the best films I've seen in 2006. It is one of the funniest movies I've seen this year and was the best movie I saw at the Chicago International Film Festival this year. But the one thing it is not is a controversial film.

What makes a film just as this so good is the way it weaves a serious subject with humor. Who would have thought a subject about the Romanian revolution could have been so funny? Romanians, and really most of us Eastern Europeans (I'm Hungarian) have a very sarcastic sense of humor. And that humor is shown in spades in this film. In fact the audience I saw this film with (and it was a packed house) were also in fits of laughter. I started laughing at myself for laughing. I was even trying to hold it in so I wouldn't disturb the people sitting next to me.

The film mostly follows three men, Virgil Jderescu (Teodor Corban) the host of a TV show that is going to discuss the 16th anniversary of that fateful day and his two guest, both of whom claim to have been there, Mr. Manescu (Ion Sapdaru) and Mr. Piscoci (Mircea Andeescu).

The first half of the movie introduces these characters to us as each gets ready for the show. The second half of the movie is the TV show itself.

I've complained lately that one of the reason Romanian films don't get distributed in America is because Romanians are going away from what they know. The country has tried so hard to maintain the image it is not behind with the times and wants to impress Western society. This is a big mistake. Don't care what Western audiences will think. Just make films about your country and deal with subjects that are meaningful to you (by "you" I mean Romanian directors). Earlier this year we saw "The Death of Mr. Lazarescu". There was a film that dealt with a "Romanian" problem and people all over the world not only enjoyed it, but, were able to relate to it. This, I believe, would happen more often if Romanian directors followed their hearts instead of some demographic.

"12:08 East of Bucharest" is dealing with a major part of Romanian history and the outcome is a brilliant film that all audience members should be able to relate to. The humor also helps the film by keeping the audience engaged.

I hope we see more films like this. And I also hope director Corneliu Porumboiu keeps making films and hopefully they will be shown in America.

p.s. I also wanted to quickly point out a similarity I found between this film and Bernardo Bertolucci's "The Spider's Stratagem". Both films question a time in history. Are there such things as heroes? Does fact ever get mixed with fiction? How can we separate the two? When is a lie more important than the truth, if ever? These are important things to think about.

mertzg 8 September 2007

The viewer needs to understand that this is a Romanian film for Romanians. You'll catch all the inside jokes of the film if you've been there. The point of the film is that indeed the revolution was different for everyone . Even in late 1990 when I was there, the people were still scared of the Securitate, or secret police. Even during the one year anniversary of the revolution, it took courage to go and march, much less right after Ceausescu fled. The emphasis on 12;08, the reaction of the students when the teacher asked why they were so interested in the French Revolution, the interviewers emphasis on the time of the protests, and the accusatory views of the callers on the TV program, let alone the long shots of the bare dilapidated concrete buildings, all lend to the whole idea of the plot. Not only does one ask did the revolution occur in this one town, but did it occur at all? After all, Ceausescu's right hand people took over after he was gone. The people themselves ask if anything has changed.

The film can seem long and tedious to some viewers, but if you've lived in Romania, you get it.

Playitagainsam 2 April 2008

A wonderfully quirky movie, rooted in the deep inner conflict experienced by many people who have to re-conciliate their Communist-era mentalities with(in) a post-Communist society.

Most Romanians (and East-Europeans alike) will understand it very well, since many clichés are present here: the vain, non-professional media, the desolate streets, the people without perspectives or hope, the arrogant new-rich former secret service people, the successful immigrants coming from even lesser parts of the world... all grafted on top of a nagging general feeling of guilt and shame, emanating from the sheep-like population.

Let's face it: the real (and only) Romanian heroes of 1989, "before 12:08 on December 22", were the several thousands of mostly young folks who defied the authorities in the streets of Timisoara and Bucharest... the rest of the country just watched and waited, much like the viewers of Jderescu's "talk show".

PS. - To the pretentious prig from Denmark: I think you were supposed to post your "art cinema" commentary under the latest creation of your much-ballyhooed co-national, Lars von Trier, "Direktøren for det hele" (2006). Your comments fit that film to a "T"!!!

If you have absolutely no idea what Porumboiu's minimalistic film is all about, and no respect or understanding for another culture, I think you should refrain from posting. Sadly, your inane text was at some point featured on the main page for this Romanian film, even though you - thankfully! - represent an insignificant minority of malcontents.

doloresthomas 5 April 2008

There is really a lot to this movie. Even thought there is almost no evident action, except for the long television broadcast of an obnoxious talk show - even some apparently loose ends or inconclusive stories - the fact is you can ponder on days on this beautiful work of art. Acting is superb in most cases, and images of dusk and dawn in the freezing Romanian winter - so gray, so hard - are pure poetry.

The reference to dogma, among other keen jokes, talks about a clever story writer, and a cultured film maker.

I'm really glad I got to see this movie as a part of the "Eurocine" European movie showcase that visits us these days (april 08) in Bogota and the rest of Colombia. We get a chance to see the best of Romania, a country apparently so far away, yet so close to our hearts.

wbartl 24 September 2007

A very good piece of work that seems slow when you watch it and is very effective in the end. It makes you sad and hopeful at the same time. After having gone through revolution the actors are sucked up by their daily struggles about money, love and dignity. The pictures are dark and don't make you want to go to Romania in December. Nevertheless it is a must for everybody who is interested in understanding Romanian culture. But first of all it is a contribution to the national discourse in Romania itself. I would like to see more of the process of Romanian self-reflection. Unfortunately Romanian films are hardly available on DVD outside of the country.

screenwriter-14 18 August 2007

12:08 EAST OF BUCHAREST deserves all the accolades awarded it at Cannes, and Corneliu Porumboiu's amusing, entertaining and important film is a great window into the questions of the "Romanian Revolution". The opening shots of a Romanian city with its lights blinking off and the photography of the concrete buildings that house Romanian families created a perfect background to launch the film and story and the question of "whether there was, or was not a Romanian Revolution".

The characters in the film were both colorful and rich, and the humor displayed was tremendous. When I look at the lives of Romanians in contrast to the vast riches of America, and I see men and women going about their lives in Bucharest and other Romanian towns, the question of the revolution almost takes a back seat to the citizens attempting to scratch out a living and survive. What Mr. Porumboiu gave to the world was a rich story, interesting characters and presenting the question of a revolution. That answer, must be seen in this wonderful film. I look forward to more Romanian films and other works from the very talented Corneliu Porumboiu.

raluca-pache 25 June 2007

That's how I can describe this movie. I liked so much and it was so funny. Good characters, great story, a very deep message, and of course good humor!

The story line, through simple, make you still wonder about the movie even after it is over. The movie makes a 360 degrees circle and returns in the same place it started, leaving all of the questions unanswered and yet leaving us with a sense of serenity.

It is a piece of history and an insight into the Romanian current reality. But most of all, it is beautiful satire. Very funny!

I really recommend this movie!

Ishkandar_B 2 June 2006

The film premiered today 2-6-06 at Cluj 5th International Film Festival. I were there… It is not I'm a cine-freak, but I love cinema. After the triumph (Camera d'Or prize) in Cannes of a practically inexistent Romanian filmography, we all were curious about Mr. Corneliu Porumboiu. Well-done Mr. Porumboiu… I should give you a ten, for proving to our fellow -constantly complaining- European fellows that one can make a good film with just a good scenario and without billions of Euros… I have to take away one point because only Almodovar, out of the leaving ones deserves 10, and a second point because,unfortunately your beautiful scenario would not easily strike audiences unfamiliar with the average Romanian. Yet, I did enjoy it and I want to thank you. Please continue your good work…

Movie Scene

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