12:08 East of Bucharest

12:08 East of Bucharest (Romanian: A fost sau n-a fost?) is a 2006 Romanian film directed by Corneliu Porumboiu, released in 2006 and winner of the Caméra d'Or Prize (for best first film) at the Cannes Film Festival. It was also released in the United States under the abridged titles East of Bucharest and 12:08 Bucharest. The film is set in the city of Vaslui, and centers on a group of characters who revisit the Romanian Revolution of 1989 which brought an end to the communist regime.

12:08 East of Bucharest
A fost sau n-a fost?
Theatrical release poster
Directed byCorneliu Porumboiu
Produced byCorneliu Porumboiu
Daniel Burlac
Written byCorneliu Porumboiu
StarringMircea Andreescu
Teodor Corban
Ion Sapdaru
Music byRotaria
CinematographyGeorge Dăscălescu
Edited byRoxana Szel
Distributed byTartan USA
Release date
24 May 2006 (2006-05-24) (Cannes)
29 September 2006
Running time
89 minutes

The full English title refers to the setting of the film and the time of day at which Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu fled following the revolution, 12:08 pm on 22 December 1989. The original Romanian title roughly translates to "Was There or Wasn't There?", referring to the film's central issue: did Vaslui have any part in the 1989 revolution? The answer depends on whether the city registered any protest before the moment of Ceauşescu's flight.


The American review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 95% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 44 reviews.[1] Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 77 out of 100, based on 15 reviews.[2]

The film has garnered positive press in the United States; J. Hoberman of The Village Voice called it, "a casually bleak and neatly structured ensemble comedy—at once deadpan and bemused."[3] Noel Murray of The A.V. Club said "the story and the situation are slight, but in the best possible way."[4] Richard Brody of The New Yorker called it a "wise and gentle comedy of political realism." Wendy Ide of The Times described the film as "one of the best of the new wave of Romanian cinema" and "a droll delight that questions the nature of historical record and the realities of postcommunist Romania with a slyly comic and disarmingly self-mocking tone."[5] It also received 4 stars out of 4 from the New York Post.

V.A. Musetto of the New York Post named 12:08 East of Bucharest the best film of 2007.[6] A.O. Scott of The New York Times named it the 6th best film of 2007 (along with Live-In Maid).[6]


  • Mircea Andreescu - Emanoil Pișcoci
  • Teodor Corban - Virgil Jderescu
  • Ion Sapdaru - Tiberiu Mănescu
  • Mirela Cioabă - Doamna Mănescu
  • Luminiţa Gheorghiu - Doamna Jderescu
  • Cristina Ciofu - Vali
  • Lucian Iftime - Lică
  • Annemarie Chertic - Vera
  • Petrică Sapdaru - Petrică
  • Cătălin Paraschiv - Barman
  • George Guoqingyun - Chen
  • Constantin Diță - Tibi
  • Daniel Badale - Professor
  • Marius Rogojinski - Vecin (credited as Marius Rogojinschi)
  • Aurelia Țocu - Maricica Dima (voice only)

See also


  1. "12:08 East of Bucharest". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on 10 January 2008. Retrieved 5 January 2008.
  2. "12:08 East of Bucharest (2007): Reviews". Metacritic. Archived from the original on 27 December 2007. Retrieved 5 January 2008.
  3. J. Hoberman "The Revolution Must Be Televised", The Village Voice, 29 March 2007
  4. Noel Murray, "12:08 East Of Bucharest", The A.V. Club, 7 June 2007
  5. Wendy Ide, "Film Review: 12:08 East Of Bucharest", The Times, 16 August 2007
  6. "Metacritic: 2007 Film Critic Top Ten Lists". Metacritic. Archived from the original on 2 January 2008. Retrieved 5 January 2008.

Study on 1989 in Romanian Film https://www.academia.edu/3671294/Post-Heroic_Revolution_Depicting_the_1989_Events_in_the_Romanian_Historical_Film_of_the_Twenty-First_Century

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