Tales from the Golden Age is a Romanian movie about the waning days of the Communist era in that country, a time that, according to some Communist leaders, was a “golden age” for its people. The title, of course, is meant to be ironic, though in this case the irony is not a harsh irony that you might expect to see from a country known for its infamous orphanages and leader who was killed by his own people in 1989. In this case, the movie takes a mostly humorous approach to the ways people survived the everyday necessities and indignities of life under a repressive regime.
The film is a collection of “tales” — six in all — and some are longer than others, but all are enjoyable. Especially for an American, the details can be particularly interesting: the tiny, cramped apartment where a pig is secretly killed so the neighbors don’t find out; the teenagers pretending to be officials from some government department ”investigating” apartment air with old beer bottles; the fear ruling over a photographer and his co-worker as they work to manipulate a photo (in the pre-Photoshop days) so the government is not shown in a bad light. Certainly the most poignant story is the final one, about a lonely but married driver of a chicken truck who finds a way to secretly get eggs to a restauranter he has a crush on, knowing the whole time he is violating a government rule to get the eggs. Overall, a fascinating, funny and insightful look at the end of an era (and done by a variety of directors) that shouldn’t be missed by anyone who likes foreign films.
Posted by: David