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Sixteen years after the Revolution and just days before Christmas, a local television station in Romania invites several people to share their moments of glory, as they allegedly stormed city hall chanting “Down with Ceausescu!” before the dictator and his wife fled the presidential palace. But the only guests they can find are an alcoholic history teacher (Ion Sapdaru) and a lonely retiree who moonlights as Santa (Mircea Andreescu). The two are forced to answer questions from dubious viewers who aren’t overly convinced that the Revolution ever took place in their city. An unexpected comedy from debut writer/director Corneliu Porumboiu. Winner of the Camera d’Or at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival.

 12:08 East of Bucharest

I started writing 12:08 East of Bucharest more as a therapeutic move, to get away from a script I had been writing for two years which didn’t please me at the time. So I started working on the new script, hoping I could eventually return to my first story, Of Angels and Hair, and find that key, that glue to the story that would make me happy. But I started liking 12:08 East of Bucharest so much that I decided to start filming it as soon as possible. Every film in a director’s career is a matter of choice; after each film I make, my view about film in general becomes more nuanced and more demanding, in terms of cinematic language and vision and, as much as I try, I cannot go back to a previously-explored subject. Behind every good movie I’ve made so far there is at least one script I had to give up. Every such script contains scenes and elements I would have liked to see on film but I will never use again. Therefore, in a similar therapeutic vein, I offer below the first scenes from a movie I’ll never make, Of Angels and Hair.


An old Dacia car emerges from the tall grass. Several aluminum pipes, wrapped in cloth, press heavily on the hood. A metal frame with three wheels and a propeller engine are anchored on top. Two young men get out: Viorel (about 23) and Goose (around 27). Goose takes a few steps toward a distant town. He plucks a few blades of grass and throws them in the air. Viorel watches the blades as they start flying in strong wind.

VIOREL: The wind’s too strong. What are we doing?

GOOSE: It’ll calm down soon. Let’s unload the car.

Viorel and Goose go to the car and grab the cloth from opposite sides.

GOOSE: Easy, Viorel, it’s not made of concrete! Keep still and I’ll move to the other side. Like this…put it down...Easy, easy...That’s it!

The two young men put the clothed weight on the grass and start unfolding it. The cloth starts fluttering in the wind, like the wings of a hang glider. Viorel takes out several pipes from the trunk and throws them near Goose.

GOOSE: I asked you not to throw them like that, man!

VIOREL: Fuck them! It’s just iron.

GOOSE: It’s not iron! It’s aluminum.

VIOREL (to himself): It’s the same to me…

GOOSE: Did you say something?

VIOREL: No. Nothing.

The two young men start fixing the sailcloth with pipes of different sizes.


Viorel lies on the grass, watching a bird fly above him. He points at it with his hand shaped like a gun, as if he were aiming at it.

GOOSE: Viorel, give me a light.

Viorel looks for the lighter and throws it to Goose. Viorel stands up and realizes Goose is smoking marijuana.

VIOREL: Hey, Goose! You wanna smoke or fly?

Goose keeps on smoking.

VIOREL: Dude, you’ll fall asleep!

GOOSE: Dude, you’ll fall on my fist! Back off!

Viorel plucks a few blades of grass. He wants to throw them in the air but squeezes them instead.


Goose holds the glider’s wing on his back and takes a few steps, as if he were trying the power of the wind.

GOOSE: Pull it easy...OK…When you get next to me, I’ll lift it. Then...

Viorel pushes the propeller metal frame toward Goose.

VIOREL: C’mon, Goose, what the hell! You act like you haven’t done this before…Just like my mom...“Don’t drink your coffee on an empty stomach!,” every goddamn morning.

GOOSE: You’re really touchy today, dude! Just like my mother...

Goose lifts up the wing. Viorel gets closer. Goose fixes the wing into the metal frame. Viorel checks the cables. Goose puts on an old helmet and takes the pilot seat in the hang glider. Viorel crosses himself and starts rolling the propeller. After three failed attempts, the propeller starts rolling. The hang glider moves on the bumpy road. For a second it takes off only to crash on the ground immediately.

GOOSE (getting out): Fuck it!

VIOREL (running toward him): Goose, are you OK?

GOOSE (examining the wing): I’m fine. Four or five broken pipes…

VIOREL: Ahhh…Fuck them! You’ll get some new ones! It’s good you’re all right.

GOOSE: You know how expensive they are?