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  • There's pretty much no in-between when it comes to this particular movie. In order to love it, one would first need to fully grasp the social environment of the late 80's in eastern Europe. Having achieved that, the movie will suddenly become amazingly familiar. Of course, to a westerner, the movie may seem bland, with very mild comedic content, but to a eastern European, this movie will bring laughter throughout the runtime. In fact, I joined IMDb just to write about it. Yes, I found it to be that good.

    There are multiple factors that make this movie so enjoyable, starting with the fact that it is based on urban legends that used to circulate in Romania during the pre 1989 period (and in fact, long afterward as well), and ending with the amazingly detailed portrayal of the characters, while still maintaining a strictly necessary list of features needed to best summarise them. I'd go as far as to compare this movie to "Goodbye Lenin", which is a movie aimed at the same target as this one. I remember watching "Goodbye Lenin", and shedding a tear in the end, due to the amazing feeling of familiarity that it had brought on the screen. While "Tales from the Golden Age" will not have such a dramatic effect on you, I can assure anyone familiar with the eastern Europe social context of the 80's, that they'll definitely enjoy the movie. Of course, should one wish to nitpick, you'd find various anachronisms, mainly related to the props used, but then again, these anachronisms only helped us remember what the actual objects used to be like back then.

    Personally, I give it a 9, simply because I consider 10 to be a mark every director should strive to achieve, but never succeed.
  • i was born in 1991, 2 years after the fall of communism. my parents and older brothers used to tell me stories from the commie age and some, you'd think, were outrageous but believe me, nothing you see here is fiction.

    it was a pretty hard time and that we still manage to find funny aspects in it is amazing. so, long story short, if you have no idea what communism was like this is the movie for you and it shows everything: fear of the party superiors, stupidity, bad taste, power abuse, lack of simple everyday supplies and most importantly, the will of the communist party
  • paul2001sw-114 April 2011
    I love Kieslowski's films of morally compromised lives in communist Poland. But communist Poland was never half as scary as Ceacescu's 'Golden Age' in Romania, which is perhaps why it's only now that Romanain cinema appears to be enjoying it's own golden era, with many great films looking back at the dictatorship and its legacy. Chris Mungiu's 'Four Months, Three Weeks and Two Days' is perhaps the finest of them; here he has scripted a bunch of illustrative (and not necessarily so tall) tales, which are directed by himself and a number of collaborators (though who produced which episode is not acknowledged). In some ways, the first tale (about an official visit) is almost unbeatable, a black comedy that had me laughing out loud; the last (about a couple of bottle-stealers) has the most obvious stylistic echoes of Mungiu's own work. But all of them capture the mixture of poverty, deference, fear and, paradoxically, individual selfishness, that characterised life under communism. The stories are superficially slight, but the smallest of transgressions carry grotesquely exaggerated weight Bitter wryness and naturalistic acting, camera work and dialogue, mark the films as a whole: a highly recommended set.
  • down-emily26 September 2009
    Warning: Spoilers
    As a Romanian girl who did not catch the socialist republic, I must say this movie put everything into perspective for me. I loved every minute of it and laughed at the sheer charm captured on screen. Romania is a wonderful country full of fascinating people, but this movie just goes one step beyond. I grew up in the nineties, a period of transition from communism to democracy, so some of the atmosphere here I found in my daily life with my grandparents and I felt so touched to see that atmosphere come to life once more. The script and the direction were perfect in my opinion and every second of this movie is pure genius. I recommend it to everyone who wants to see a cheerful side of the Romanian dictatorship. You will definitely not regret it.
  • For those who never "experienced" communism, this may seem off the charts but rest assured as such stories could be more than simple legends. In fact, communism provided numerous stories.. some were true, some were a bit dramatized but as the Romanian saying goes, "there is some grain of truth in every story". Every film should be judged on the period in which it was created and given the story it tells and this movie should make no exception. Considering the fact that a movie has to be an excellent blend of a good scenario, perfectly balanced acting, inspiring music and stunning visuals, it's hard to make a 10 out of 10 movie so, I have to conclude by giving it a 9. As I am a native Romanian you would have to consider my 9 an actual 8, stripping down my subjectivity. The scenarios are excellent and not far from the truth, we have indigenous music and the acting is extremely picturesque and relevant. There are many great Romanian actors here! At this point I have to remind the reader that this is not a documentary as misleadingly written previously, but a artistic movie. As far as the stories go, I don't find them to be over exaggerated. The reviews that pointed out an over exaggerated perspective are in fact misleading. Street mopping / sweeping was not something close to science fiction at all. In fact, in reality, a party inspection was often accompanied by highly more absurd but true actions, such as hanging additional fruits in fruit trees in order for the production to seem misleadingly larger..etc and all kind of similar tricks in order to distort reality and conceal the raw and painful truth - misery, cold, hunger, poverty, sadness and many more. So, in fact, what seam to be funny stories are in fact allegorical screen played facts that speak of a naked truth. Through these allegorical perspective, every story tells or focuses on an actual truth telling fact like: gullibility, poverty, tyranny, servitude, lies and censorship and many more. Try to read between the lines of the script, try to connect with the era and the Balkanic mood and enjoy the well screened stories of ages not long past. Enjoy!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    First thing first, this movie was no news for a citizen of Romania, just a reassurance of what we were. In the theater people were laughing at the apparently comical events that were presented in the film, but if we stay and think for a minute or two, we realize that these things really happened in Romania, and they were ordinary.

    Not only that, but people were really used to it and gave up easily when for example they had to be nice puppets and obey the higher officer's orders and act like you are a slave. Some people in that period actually fought and obviously lost, ending up in prisons or working as real slaves on different dirty and disgusting jobs. The occidentals can not despise us more than we despise ourselves for what we were, but if you watch this movie, you will know for sure.

    In other words, this is a movie worth seeing, which is for Romania that used to hide it's past behind the finger, a really cruel movie and even if on the facade it might be funny this movie is the most brutal ones in a while. Can't wait for the next one that's coming up this month!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Before actually seeing this motion picture I attempted to induce myself a complete amnesia related to this black page of Romanian history. When I was just a kid I almost died in a crowd struggling to buy some sort of food in a Romanian market. I'm not quite a big fan of the theme called communism. Nevertheless, I've seen some great and bad movies on the subject. Maybe one to many. For an easterner, or to be more precise, for a Romanian born in communism, the film strikes home like a time machine, from the beginning till the end.

    Every situation, ironical or sinister, can bring both hysterical laughter and painful memories you'd thought you'll never relive again. All the environment and the acting are amazingly truthful. In fact, you could ask any Romanian born before '89 and acknowledge his personal story through this film. My mother saw "Tales from the Golden Age" and couldn't be convinced it is just a movie played by actors, cause she almost recognized every character in the person of x or y. The reason? She lived for so long nearby the zealous Party activist, the grabby militiaman, the highbinder who represented the centralized authority, the possible unfair penalty pushing you to say "what have I done wrong?", terms like Party assignment, ideological correctness, Eastern egg ration; she, like many others, inhaled the stench of the chemical factory first hand. I mean she had her ball... A big chunk of communist history, served cold.

    Every Romanian who lived through communism could tell you what is like to darkly watch Bruce Lee on the illegal VCR machine, cramped with a dozen of people in a block room. Everyone knew the meaning of a present black Volga car or a white 4x4 Aro. Nobody forgot by now how cool was to wear blue jeans clothes afterhours; and no child forgot the bedtime stories told on the air. This is not average comedy. This is a black comedy of life, more like a drama in several episodes! The banana, the "Sibiu" salami brand, in fact any kind of meat in general, the eggs, etc... isn't just about common food anymore! These are true symbols of human survival in the communist Romania.

    20-30 years later Romanians still crowd in panic in front of the billing machines of the hypermarkets, just before holidays...like there's no tomorrow... like a sad apple, reminding of the Golden Age... and the "old ways" still prevail along with the bell ringer. But at least now they can listen to Pink Floyd without a hassle, and that's keeping me happy and gives me hope.
  • This is a five short films DVD, each being a different story in a particular setting that we may call typical of the Romania daily life as seen during the communist regime that ended in late 1980's.

    The films are nicely shot, very in detail as of the memories I have of that time. The dance with the girl's hands around the neck, the green bananas, the hair wash in water warmed on the stove, remember that? This movie is clearly pointing to very specific details of the life back then, more than the story line itself. In a nostalgic, not depressing way. It's a 'feeling' movie, that put a smile on my face.

    The play is superb, contrary of what others say here. Please look at details, the actors reproduce the exact emotions related to teenagers, young kids, married adults, couples life. Decors are so accurate, it makes you feel like going right back in time and recognize everything like it was 30 years before. And - my guess - props for filming school scenes at Mihai Viteazul in Bucharest. The story line is slightly exaggerated, but we do understand that sometime, somewhere it really happened that way to someone. I did like more films #2,#3 and #5 because those feel more refreshing and have a good hint of humor. I did not like much the Air sellers film because it's depressing and it feels too unrealistic.

    A must see for all 30+ years old roumanians out there.

    Here's the list of the films as of Wikipedia:

    DVD1 1. The Legend of the Air Sellers Crina meets small-time con-artist Bughi, who ekes a living pretending to be a water inspector: calling door-to-door, he asks residents to provide a sample of their tap water in a bottle they supply, which he turns in for the deposit. She joins him on one of his trips, but persuades him that collecting multiple air samples will be faster. Their scheme unravels when they become overambitious and try to scam an entire apartment block out of its bottles.

    2. The Legend of the Chicken Driver A poultry truck driver, disillusioned with his loveless marriage, tries to win the heart of the manageress of a roadside inn. He brings her the eggs laid overnight by the chickens in his truck, but the two of them realize with Easter coming up, it would be more profitable to sell them on to the general public instead. Their scheme collapses when he is found out and jailed for embezzlement. He is eventually permitted a visitor to his prison, though it proves to be not the woman he sought, but his angry wife.

    DVD2 3. The Legend of the Official Visit Local Party officials scurry into action when a motorcade of VIPs and foreign dignitaries promises to pass through the village. A government official arrives and attention is paid to the smallest detail, yet the people are let down when a phone call reveals the motorcade is no longer coming. Everyone is disconsolate and the worse for drink, the official orders everyone to ride together on the children's carousel, but as the mayor loses conscience, they realize that there is no-one around to switch the machine off and let them down. Legend tells that they were all still trapped there when the motorcade did after all pass through.

    4. The Legend of the Party Photographer Newspaper editors and Party officials fret over a photograph of Ceaușescu and the visiting Giscard d'Estaing to be published in tomorrow's paper. Much argument is had over how best to doctor the photograph to make Ceaușescu appear taller than d'Estaing, and whether he should be wearing a hat. A hat is duly provided for Ceaușescu in the photograph, but no-one notices until too late that he was already carrying one, leaving the image of him comically carrying one hat while wearing another.

    5. The Legend of the Greedy Policeman A policeman is promised a pig by his brother, but when it is delivered, is found to still be alive. Uncertain how to slaughter a pig, and unwilling to share the pig with their neighbors, the family manage to gas it with butane in their apartment's kitchen. Believing the gas to have completely dissipated, they try to burn the hairs from its corpse with a blow lamp, but instead succeed in blowing up their apartment.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    By coincidence a couple of days before seeing Mungiu's collection I had seen Daneliuc's 'Senatorul melcilor' a 1995 film dealing with the so-called transition period. The first segment of the 'Amintiri' (Memories) seems a replica of Daneliuc's movie, with the difference that the action happens a decade later in the history of Romania. The action in both films takes place on the background of 'work visits' (Ceausescu's in Mungiu's film, senator Virtosu in Daneliuc's) in remote country areas, on which occasions reality is painted in festive colors, slogans are written, and the national flag decorates houses and streets. Both emphasize the abyss between the sordid life of the common people and the luxury of the lives of the ruling classes. Both demount the mechanisms of servility which seem to be in direct descend from the work of the classical Romanian playwright Caragiale.

    There is a difference in tone of the approach taken by Mungiu with 'Amintiri' relative to '4-3-2' which brought him the Palme d'Or two years ago. The genre is here comedy. The film is composed of four episodes (a second three-episodes series will be out later this month on the Romanian screens), each one presenting one of the urban legends related to the times of Ceausescu. Out of the miseries of the epoch the comical elements are emphasized - the corruption, wooden language, infinite servility - all good reasons for a great laugh. It's certainly an almost infinite mine of gold as the epoch was the source of all kinds of possible humor - black humor, typological humor, absurd humor, and even humor about simple minded people. The registry is sarcastic. This is not however a choice deprived of risks.

    Each episode belongs to another director, Mungiu gives here to some of his lesser famous colleagues the opportunity to participate in the project. We do not know who of Hanno Hofer, Razvan Marculescu, Constantin Popescu or Ioana Uricaru directed each episode, the team and common responsibility seeming to be the idea here. I liked three out of the four episodes. The first one deals with the preparation of the work visit which is scheduled to happen and is canceled alternatively, and it catches wonderfully the servility and wooden language of the party activists, but also the fear that was encircling each visit of the dictator. The second happens on the corridors of the party newspaper where the report of the state visit of the French president creates unexpected ripples in the censorship and propaganda machines. The last one happens in a working class area at Christmas Eve, when the presence of a traditional pig targeted for slaughter but brought in town alive will cause explosive consequences. I liked less the third episode, which was flawed because of its too idealistic main character and because if fails to tell the story clearly exactly at the pick moment. Too bad, as the episode had some interesting message to tell about the contrast between popular wisdom and party propaganda.

    The comedy aspects are supported by an excellent team of actors, well selected and coached by the four directors. The film has rhythm, is funny and the audience is easily caught in the game. However it is the localization of the film in the comedy register, that may cause confusion. I am also reading comments written on IMDb by younger viewers of the film from Romania, who did not live through the Communist era. The tone chosen by Mungiu is easily understood by somebody who lived in Ceausescu's Romania as a sarcastic departure from the 'golden age' events and situation. Whoever is born or lived his mature life afterward and the foreign audiences risk to read in Mungiu's new film much more nostalgia than intended. 'If it was that funny it may not have been that bad' they may say. Wrong - it was funny AND bad. Back to the parallel with 'Senatorul melcilor' in Daneliuc's final scenes we see the village in flames, as the neglect and the gaps brought the hidden or obvious ethnic and social conflicts to the stage of violence. The risky choice of Mungiu seems to bring on screen only the comic dimension. For the full picture one needs to see also '4-3-2'.
  • This is how we lived. We were forced. We were not naive. Looking back 50 years I feel my life was unreal, but not. It is true to the letter. Only, what? Looking back the stupidity of the system (it did not build in 50 years a war destroyed country, but destroyed what was left from the war) appears funny. We had to cheat in order to survive. To cheat ourselves and others, on many levels. But mostly we cheated the system. This is so funny and sad about the movie. And yes, there are inconsistencies in many details, but is is so important the color of the license plate, or some uniform detail? No, IMHO. It is the impossible situations people were forced to live every day and survive. And among it all there was love, honesty, theft... A life. It is a wonder how people can smile and laugh at those hard to believe "legends", but that's life. The movie is funny, cause stupidity is funny. The movie is human because it is about simple human being in stupid situations. If you will not laugh, at least will enjoy realistic acting and directing.
  • I was born in Bucharest in 1980 and we lived there till we emigrated to Canada in 88. I remember a lot of these type of situations vividly. The pig in the apartment....I almost bloody died laughing. The Ceausescu hat one....brilliant. This is movie was absolutely hilarious if you lived, or know, what living in Eastern Europe at that time was like. The lineups for groceries, the lack of basic neccesities, hot water only in certain times of the day, having to line up and push your car to get gas, having to "know a guy" to get certain thing be it gas, meat, bread, fruit.....Romanians became very resourceful. Its movies like this that make me proud of Romanian cinema!!
  • A Humorous Look at the Dark Days of Communist Romania in the 1980's. A look back at Soviet Block Romania before transition - Ceacescu's

    so-called 'Golden Age', and told in a series of short stories and

    events based on urban legends that used to circulate in Romania

    during that period. The dark humour, stoicism and pathos are abundant

    and the whole cinematic experience is a true joy to watch. Tales from

    the Golden Age can be equally likened to other slow paced cinema

    gems such as Lake Tahoe, Vodka Lemon, Goodbye Lenin, The Return, 4

    Months 3 Weeks & 2 Days, The Banishment and the wonderful Legacy. It

    is one of those films that you can watch over and over again and

    still find something new. So much different from standard mainstream Hollywood formula tosh of

    today. To me they all provide to an outsider an education and greater

    understanding of these peoples and places. An absolute gem.
  • A time. And its crumbs. Nothing more. Game of testify and irony, pieces of lost memories and joy to describe, not very bad, Romanian Communism. The details are not important. The exaggeration is only for taste. It is not a documentary. But an exercise to say truth in soft way. So, it is nice and amusing. A form to imagine a death world who lives in every slide of Romanian reality. A story about people in the skin of totalitarian regime. A masterpiece if compare it with Autobiografia lui Nicolae Ceaușescu. With small ambitions and great sense of ridiculous. With desire to amusing and rediscover years when to survive was the first preoccupation. And title of two talented young directors. That is all.!
  • a bizarre film. first because its target seems be the generations under Ceaușescu regime. then, because it gives the illusion to recreate the essence of a period. not the last, because it is only one of films after 1990 from the Romanian cinematography who represents a fight against a corpse, a form of exorcism against the past. for me it is not easy to say if I hate it or I am amused about it. because it has the desire to be a honest exam about the hypocrisy of Communism. but itself is far to be honest. because, in a new political system, after twenty years after the fall of Ceaușescu dictatorship, the scenes are like joke contest around the fire , in a trip. ferocious, clever, amusing, ironical. but the presented events are pieces of a lost past. so, the reality who is blamed is itself a form of fiction.
  • When the movie started, first the names of corporate sponsors rolled down, then the jokes.

    This movie, as I had expected, took a caricatural shot at Romania during socialist period but the timing could not have been worse, as capitalism collapsed around the world spectacularly.

    The movie told the stories simply but efficiently and displayed daily lives of Romanians before their transformation to a free market economy.

    What I liked about the movie was to see inside the houses and rural villages of Romania during socialism. To see their naivete , when they expect an inspection by a government official, when they drink and have fun, even when they steal stuff. In capitalism by contrast you need to have grand schemes, people with thousand dollar suits and a little help from the government in order to steal. But the payoff is not a few dollars like in socialism but trillions of them!

    To paraphrase the slogan in the movie: Legend has it that the ex-socialist countries of Latvia and Letonia are in the brink of bankruptcy just like Iceland. Romania is in pretty bad shape too, like other Eastern European countries. So basically it takes 50 years of socialism to build a country from the ashes of WWII and only 20 years of capitalism to bankrupt it. Pretty good deal, now they will have to learn to slave for capitalism for the rest of their lives! I watched the movie during Istanbul Film Days, the movie was a bit long and people got bored towards the end. Acting was great, directing was solid.

    And as final note may I suggest the director Cristian Mingiu to cut back on listening to Radio Free Europe and see films by Michael Moore and learn a bit what is happening at the den of capitalism. Legend has it that the corporations left and right are getting a little socialist help from their government!
  • cosmin_diaconu30 April 2019
    This is by far the greatest communism comedy I've ever seen. Amazing stories.
  • Tales from the Golden Age consists of six urban legends from Romania. Golden Age being the era referred to by communists. In The Legend of the Official Visit, a high official motorcade is suppose to pass through town and the folks rush around to prepare for it. In The Legend of the Party Photographer, a photo of leader Ceaușescu sends the newspaper into chaos. In The Legend of the Zealous Activist, overly-eager party activist arrives in town to improve literacy. In The Legend of the Greedy Policeman, a policeman is given a live pig but things go wrong. In The Legend of the Air Sellers, a con man collects bottles for the deposits by pretending to be a water inspector. In The Legend of the Chicken Driver, poultry driver tries to sell the eggs laid by the chicken on his truck.

    I kinda like the first story. It's a slow start but I got to find the villagers funny in their quirky ways. It would have been nice to stay with them and build up their characters. Just as I get to like the story more, it ends and the next story begins. It takes more time to get involved with that story and it doesn't really happen. It does end in a funny way. Then the third story starts and I stop caring. These stories are much more meaningful for other people like folks who lived through the communist regime. For me, it's a decreasing rate of return.
  • The acting is forced. The directing is visible. The dialog is unnatural. There are awful inaccuracies both in dialog and in general direction. Truly a second grade movie. A nice Sunday morning story for those who haven't lived those times. From the tiny details that the license plates of the official cars had a yellow background and all cars in this movie feature civilian white background to the fact that the press did not use the regular passenger rail car as seen on screen, but a special postal car. A Jumanji in a Communist theme park.

    There are also quite a few more issues in the version I have seen (I have read there are more than one cuts). For example in the first story the visit is postponed to find out in the caption that the visit actually took place. It's true that abuse was a common place, yet sweeping the asphalt to receive the visit on a dirt road... that's quite insane even by those standards.

    What's worse, while trying to be some sort of "La vita e bella" of communism they take a lame approach dodging some interesting issues. So the story is childish, shallow and at the same time some consider it as some sort of irony. The irony is the fact that some of the people who created this string of stories were themselves the children of the party representatives featured here. I expected a more realist approach from them.

    Contact me with Questions, Comments or Suggestions ryitfork @ bitmail.ch