Tales From The Golden Age (12A)
Friday 30 October 2009
Given what we know of Ceausescu's Romania, the Orwellian penetration of the state into every corner of daily life, the mildly comic, wistful tone of this portmanteau of short dramas seems puzzling.
Then again, it's a bit much to demand that outrage persists unabated 20 years on, and Mungiu and his colleagues are more interested in the obverse of totalitarian rule – the way that human desires and foibles inevitably penetrate the state, mocking the rules and dimming the fear. The five stories are all apparently based on urban myths of the time: a village driven mad by the demands of an official party visit; a sexually frustrated lorry-driver tempted to petty crime; lives made tolerable by scams and favours and knowing when to look the other way. The problem is that in pursuing the comedy of banality, the film ends up being, just at times, a tiny bit banal.
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