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Timisoara: December 1989

Reviewed at Sony Copley Place Theatre, Boston, Sept. 8, 1995. (In Boston, Palm Springs fests.) Running time: 82 MIN.

Reviewed at Sony Copley Place Theatre, Boston, Sept. 8, 1995. (In Boston, Palm Springs fests.) Running time: 82 MIN.

This impressionistic docu recounts the December 1989 collapse of the Communist dictatorship of Nicolae Ceausescu in Romania. Focus is the western city of Timisoara, where government troops tried to crack down on a civilian revolt but eventually joined the side of the people.

Viewers with a political or historical interest will find this of interest, but pic provides no context for the story. It is solely about the events over a few days in Timisoara, so that conditions in the rest of the country precipitating the revolt go unrecounted. Failure to identify any of the people speaking leaves viewers unfamiliar with the situation further at a loss, leaving one to guess that one person is an army officer and another is an ambulance driver.

Tech credits are a liability, with intercutting between interviews shot on film and those transferred from video, as well as still photos, unexplained tracking shots and aerial views. Some images are completely incomprehensible, while others are artily distorted through slow motion or lighting.

As a historical document — mixing film and still pics from the time with interviews done a year or so later — docu proves useful. But outside of showcases likely to attract highly informed audiences, lack of context and poor technical values will prevent this film from connecting with a wider audience.

Timisoara: December 1989

(ROMANIAN -- DOCU -- B&W)

Production: A Sahiafilm presentation. Produced by Mihail Grigorio, Emil Nichtou. Directed , written by Bose O. Pastina.

Crew: Camera (B&W), Carol Przybilla, Daniel Letos; editors, Eugenia Ianculescu, Maria Visu; sound, Horia Murgu.

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