Tales From the Golden Age [Amintiri din Epoca de Aur]

"Extraordinary"

Tales From the Golden Age [Amintiri din Epoca de Aur] Review


After the riveting 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, Mungiu is back with five more stories from Romania's "golden age". But these tales replace that earlier film's brilliantly bleak chill with light-hearted irony.

These are five urban legends from communist-era Romania: A group of villagers led by the local party secretary (Potocean) prepares for a Official Visit, but second-guessing the demands of the inspector (Pirvu) isn't easy. The Party Photographer (Birau) and his assistant (Dunca) prepare to cover a state event, but there's a frantic race to make a deadline when the photo needs doctoring.

Grigore (Ivanov) is a Chicken Driver for a poultry farm whose roadside innkeeper mistress (Popa) finds a way to make some cash on the side. A Greedy Policeman (Sapdaru) orders a pig on the black market, then has to make a plan when it arrives very much alive. And Crina (Cavallioti) teams up with gentle conman Bughi (Iacoban) to become Air Sellers in a block of flats.

Each of these stories has a strong twist that brilliantly brings together both the political themes and the mythical elements. The filmmakers cleverly use a unified style that captures the settings in all their bleak, anonymous Soviet glory while finding colourful details that keep us utterly glued to the screen.

It helps that the characters are full of personality; we become completely involved in their increasingly surreal situations.

These witty, intelligent filmmakers make telling observations without ever being preachy, drawing humour from frustrating situations and constantly surprising us. Memorable moments abound, from a village's desperate attempt to look prosperous ("bring the cow!") to a young couple's nonviolent Bonnie & Clyde-like crime spree. And along the way there are some remarkably emotional scenes as well, most notably in the examination of Grigore's strained, complex marriage.

Mungiu is incredibly skilled at telling deep, resonant stories in an understated way, grabbing our attention and imagination while letting us experience the events along with the characters. This is a film that tells us about a place and time we can't identify with through characters we can't help but understand. And by focussing on real people trying to survive, the film's quiet criticism of a totalitarian regime is that much more forceful.



Facts and Figures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director: Cristian Mungiu, Ioana Uricaru, Hanno Hîfer, Constantin Popescu

Producer: Cristian Mungiu, Oleg Mutu

Starring: Tania Popa as Camelia, Diana Cavallioti as Crina (segment "The Legend of the Air Sellers"), Radu Iacoban as Bughi (segment "The Legend of the Air Sellers"), Vlad Ivanov as Grigore (segment "The Legend of the Chicken Driver"), Liliana Mocanu as Marusia (segment "The Legend of the Chicken Driver"), Alexandru Potocean as The Secretary (segment "The Legend of the Official Visit")

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.