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Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu

The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu

Autobiografia Lui Nicolae Ceausescu

Andrei Ujica

  • Country: Romania
  • Year: 2010
  • Language: Romanian
  • Producer: Velvet Moraru
  • Screenplay: Andrei Ujica
  • Runtime: 180
  • Programmes:

Culled from one thousand hours of archival footage and four years in the making, this spellbinding montage epic unfolds as if from the nostalgic, solipsistic memory of former Romanian ruler Nicolae Ceausescu, after his reign was brought to an abrupt and tumultuous end in December 1989.


screening times

    • Thursday September 16
    • 5:30:00 PM
    • AMC 10
    • Friday September 17
    • 5:00:00 PM
    • AMC 9

Note: indicates Premium Screening.

official description

Cinema’s propagandistic power is in full effect in Andrei Ujica’s montage epic, The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu, a contemporary fresco starring Romania’s fallen ruler and his wife, Elena. A radical and chilling project, the film concludes the filmmaker’s trilogy exploring the end of communism which began with the landmark Videograms for a Revolution, co-directed with German film essayist Harun Farocki. Autobiography defies categorization and functions closest to a Vertovian “film-object” wherein fragments of reality are edited together from an inventory of images in order to illustrate a higher truth. But what constitutes reality when its images have been stage-managed into baroque pageantry or quasi-Hollywood musicals by a delusional dictator?

Nicolae Ceausescu’s megalomania and self-aggrandizement are legendary. As Romania’s tyrannical President from 1974 to 1989, he created a bizarre and seemingly infectious cult of personality for himself. As Romania plunged into mass poverty under his draconian austerity programme and his banning of contraception (which caused widespread child abandonment, botched clandestine abortions and countless AIDS/HIV-infected orphans), Ceausescu continued to be fêted the world over. He was knighted by the Queen of England, visited by President Nixon (during the Cold War, no less) and was received warmly by Charles de Gaulle, Mao Tse-tung and most auspiciously by the North Koreans, whose welcoming ceremonies for him rivaled those of the Beijing Olympics.

Autobiography begins with the infamous television footage of the frail-looking Ceausescus in captivity undergoing a mock trial prior to their execution on Christmas Day. The film opens onto scenes of pomp and circumstance, chronicling Ceausescu’s twenty-five-year reign. Eschewing voice-over commentary, the film’s brilliant montage and subtle sound reconstruction create a sui generis film, lying somewhere between Godard’s Histoire(s) du cinéma and Vertov’s Man With a Movie Camera.

Four years in the making and culled from one thousand hours of archival footage – both state sanctioned and private – this spellbinding adventure unfolds as if from the nostalgic, solipsistic memory of Ceausescu himself.

Andréa Picard

director bio

Andrei Ujica wasborn in Timisoara, Romaniaand studied literature in Timisoara, Bucharest and Heidelberg.He co-directed Videograms of a Revolution(92) with Harun Farocki, and directed the documentary Out of the Present (95). Ujica is professor of film at the KarlsruheUniversity of Arts and Design in Germany and founded the ZKM FilmInstitute, where he also serves as director. The Autobiography of NicolaeCeausescu (10) is his most recentfeature film.

full credits

Principal Cast: Nicolae Ceausescu, Elena Ceausescu
Velvet Moraru
Dana Bunescu
Dana Bunescu
International Sales Agent:
 Mandragora International
Production Company:
Icon Production
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