Friday, February 08, 2008

Euro 2008 Film Festival: Group C, Romania

Film Festival Rules & Guidelines

Film selected (Year, Director): 12:08 East of Bucharest (2006, Corneliu Porumboiu)
Rating: 9/10
Rules compliance: All rules met

Relevance to Soccer: Revisiting history

Some of the best soccer games and players existed in days before television. The only way today's fans can learn of these glorious past episodes is by reading books by fans, former players or journalists who were lucky enough to witness those magical moment in the sport. But what if the writer's memory is weak and there is no one to provide a better version of the truth? In that case, the tarnished memory will serve as fact and a legend will be formed.

The core of 12:08 East of Bucharest is about confirming a historic moment in a small town's past. In order to verify whether a revolution took place in the town in December 1989, a tv show host (Jderescu) gets two people together for a live tv debate.

The idea is to get these two people's versions and then get viewers to call in with their own stories. To start things off, Manescu (the local school teacher) gives his account and confirms he led a small revolution on that historic date.

While Manescu is providing his story, the other guest Piscosi (sitting on the left) is bored and distracted.

Once the phone lines are opened up, all the viewers who phone in only call to contradict Manescu's story. He is considered a town drunk and no one thinks much of him. After that, the show turns into a dissection of Manescu's version as opposed to having a civilized debate.

12:08 East of Bucharest is a hilarious film that is just fun to watch. It mixes political, subjective and even racial views in an easy flowing manner. In terms of film-making, 12:08 East of Bucharest may be third best when compared to its fellow Romanian films (The Death of Mister Lazarescu and 4 Months 3 Weeks & 2 Days) but it is more light hearted than those two films. And sometimes, one needs humour to depict the absurd situations.

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