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  • Summary: The final 15 years of the Ceausescu regime were the worst in Romania's history. Nonetheless, the propaganda machine of that time referred without fail to that period as “the golden age”...
    Tales From the Golden Age adapts for screen the most popular urban myths of the period. Comic,
    bizarre, surprising myths abounded, myths that drew on the often surreal events of everyday life under the communist regime. Humor is what kept Romanians alive, and Tales From the Golden Age aims to re-capture that mood, portraying the survival of a nation having to face every day the twisted logic of a dictatorship. On the occasion of Ceausescu's working visits, countryside mayors ended up hanging fruit in trees to make sure their villages would be noticed, obeying even the strangest orders from the ferocious Party activists. Communist Party secret regulations stated that in official pictures President Ceausescu couldn't take his hat off in front of the representatives of the rotten capitalistic world, President d'Estaing included. A professional driver decides to open his sealed truck for the first time in his career and discovers the connection between eggs, Easter and marital love. A policeman gets a live pig as gift before Christmas and decides that gas poisoning would be the best way to kill the animal silently amongst his hungry neighbors. In 1980s Romania, Bughi and Crina play Bonnie and Clyde, robbing people of bottled air. Tales From the Golden Agecombines several true stories to portray an era during which food was more important than money, freedom more important than love and survival more important than principles. (IFC Films) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 9
  2. Negative: 0 out of 9
  1. Reviewed by: Sam Adams
    Aug 24, 2011
    80
    Although several sections deal with the Ceausescu-era party apparatus, Mungiu's interest lies more in how the nation's political confusion affected the general populace. It's history told from the bottom, where what everyone thinks happened matters as much as what actually did.
  2. Reviewed by: Helen O'Hara
    Aug 23, 2011
    80
    Flashes of bleak humour makes this wry portrait a compelling experience.
  3. Reviewed by: Liam Lacey
    Aug 23, 2011
    75
    Though the threat of exposure and incarceration lurk behind every story, the characters' ingenuity and humour serve as impudent alternatives to authoritarian stupidity and brutality.
  4. Reviewed by: Jay Weissberg
    Aug 23, 2011
    70
    Though Mungiu's presumed two shorts have the most individual feel, the other helmers -- Ioana Uricaru, Hanno Hoefer, Razvan Marculescu and Constantin Popescu, all feature novices -- show a plethora of styles within the so-called "Romanian New Wave."
  5. Reviewed by: J. Hoberman
    Aug 23, 2011
    70
    Sardonic as it may be, Tales From the Golden Age is basically affirmative - its true subject is resilience. Romania suffered under a regime of dangerous stupidity. Drawing on popular memory, Mungiu has orchestrated a contribution to local folklore, a suite of stories in which those rendered witless by oppression were compelled by circumstance to live off their wits.
  6. Reviewed by: Peter Brunette
    Aug 23, 2011
    70
    Will undoubtedly mean a great deal to Romanians who struggled during this dark period, but not much to anyone else.
  7. Reviewed by: Andrew Schenker
    Aug 22, 2011
    50
    The first four of the film's 1980s-set episodes are shorter in length and more anecdotal in nature than the last two and deal primarily with the pageantry and inflexible customs behind the regime with a perspective at once amused and bemused.

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