Get local news delivered straight to your phone

Support City Paper!

$
$
$

Your contribution is appreciated.

Cristian Mungiu’s triumphant, movement-defining 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days was surely the Jules et Jim of the Romanian New Wave—not the first example of it but maybe the best. His latest project, a collaboration with four other directors titled Tales of the Golden Age, feels more like the Mythbusters of Romanian cinema. Composed of five vignettes with humorous setups and often severe consequences, it riffs on urban legends of communism’s final years, exposing the absurdities and paranoias of life under Big Brother. There is the photographer for the party newspaper, who must edit pictures of Nicolae Ceau¸sescu to make the president appear taller; the driver who transports chickens but is forbidden to open the back of his truck until he reaches the port whence the fowl is sent abroad; the policeman who must devise a way to slaughter a pig without waking his neighbors. The best vignettes are the first and the last—one involving an official visit to a rural town and an out-of-control fair ride, the other centered on a Bonnie and Clyde scheme involving stolen bottles. They’re both hilarious, but almost everything else in Golden Age plays like the type of in-joke that, if you get it, it means you were probably there. In which case, you’re probably not laughing.