12.08 East Of Bucharest review

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Romanian writer/director Corneliu Porumboiu’s droll two-act debut aims to shed light on the 1989 overthrow of Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. The vehicle for its insights is a tin-pot local TV talk-show where, due to a clerical mishap, presenter Virgil (Teodor Corban) ends up with an ‘expert’ panel comprising misanthropic school teacher Doamna (Luminita Gheorghiu) and the moderately senile Emanoil (Mircea Andreescu), from whose wandering mind the film derives most of its mordant humour. Shot and scripted with a sullen, rickety charm, this is a deadpan delight that, in the wake of last year’s Death Of Mr Lazarescu, offers further proof of Romania’s cinematic ascendance.

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