Release date:September 9, 2011
Studio:The Film Desk
Starring:Nicolae Ceausescu, Elena Ceausescu, Leonid Brezhnev
The masterwork by Romanian filmmaker Andre Ujica, which concludes his trilogy that began with the groundbreaking Videograms of a Revolution. An official selection of the Cannes, New York and Toronto Film Festivals, "The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu" is a genre-shattering cinematic work of the "new non-fiction" that culls decades of propaganda films from the Romanian national archives, synthesizing them into a taught, tragic, sprawling epic that seems recounted from the megalomaniacal point of view of the brutal 20th century dictator himself. Opening with the chilling mock trial of Ceaucescu and his wife Elena just before their execution in 1989, the film drifts back in time to glean the leader's rise from the son of a backwater peasant to international statesman, surreally embraced with high pageantry and pomp by world leaders of every political denomination, including Queen Elizabeth, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Charles de Gaulle, Kim Jong Il and Mao Tse-tung. We witness the demolition of downtown Bucharest to make way for a colossal presidential palace, the vast, failed construction projects of the '70s and '80s, glimpses of Kodachrome home movies from Black Sea vacations and the silent torture of Rumanian people and politicians enduring Ceaucescu's rambling, disconnected speeches in a famished land where dissent is punishable by death. Ujica breaks the bounds of traditional documentary form revealing this draconian autocrat's fabricated cinematic version of a nation's reality as a delusional, scathing and dreamlike self-portrait.