Tales from the Golden Age (2009) - full transcript

Several urban legends of Communist Romania are dramatized.


Urban legends from the Ceausescu era,

also called "The Golden Age",
in communist propaganda.


I see.

We do, Comrade Secretary,
we have flags and flowers...

We've got in some nice cows too.

Well, better to have too much
than too little.

We got what we could together.

Pigeons? No...

We have pigeons that fly,
but not trained ones.

We'll figure something out.

You're making an inspection today?

We'll sort it out by six.

Yes sir!

Comrade Mayor is on duty.

I'll tell him... Sir!

Mihaita, keep an eye on the phone.

- Gogu!
- What is it?

- We'll need some pigeons.
- Pigeons? Right.


Comrade Sandu is making
an inspection today.

- Oh, dear!
- We'll need them by 2 pm.

How many?

Don't know. See what you can find.

- Where's Comrade Mayor?
- He was at home.

Hey, listen up!

I'll be gone half an hour,
but I'm watching you.

Everything has to be ready
when I get back. Got it?

You! Come with me!

Listen, where's Florica?

Pa! Come out a minute!

What is it?

Oh, hello!

Florica, we need pigeons by two o'clock.

Isn't the motorcade passing tomorrow?

Yes, but the general inspection is today.

I don't have any pigeons.

You had some last year.

They were my brother-in-law's
and he ate them.

Where does he live?

At Viziresti.

Wait a second...

- When do you start the carousel?
- Tomorrow.

Any chance tonight?

If the Comrade Policeman gives us petrol.

I could've given you some last night

but you didn't show up.

Parrots are no good.

Come on!

Hurry up Victor! The motorcade'll
be here by the time you're done!

Fix up those holes!

Get a move on!
We've an inspection this afternoon!

Hello Dinca!

Clean up that cow shit!


Blue goes next to the pole!

Put the blue end at the pole!

What are you staring at?
You've nothing to do?

Where's your flag?

Unfurl it all the way!

All the way! That's it!

What I wish for you, dear

Sweet Romania, my glorious
country, my beloved land:

Wish you a strong hand,

A powerful weapon, and:::

Up to your past:::

Out of your past:::

Out of your great past:::

As great a future, at last!

Well done, Vasilica! Go.

- Comrade Mayor...
- What?

Nothing. Why are you so jumpy?

Gheorghita, this visit has me so worried!

Relax! It'll all be fine!

- Did you call at Pucheni?
- Yes.

They were told the motorcade
isn't stopping in the villages,

but to be ready just in case.

The county office called.

There'll be an inspection along the route.

A rehearsal. Don't get nervous,
or else I get nervous too.

- Did you take your tablets?
- I haven't had time.

Take them now!

Oh, Gheorghita, I wish it were all over.

Relax, it'll be fine. You'll see!

I understand.

I understand.

We put up flags... That's all we had...

I understand. Good day, sir!

I spoke with Bulbucata

and we must have red party flags.
I've asked them to send us some.

At Adancatele, they asked
why nothing was hanging from the trees.

Let's hang some fruit
from the trees so they're not bare.

It'll look ridiculous.

We'll make a stand with fruits
and vegetables, like Harvest Day.

Shall we make sarmale with
cabbage leaves or vine leaves?

Both! Stop asking me questions!

At Branesti, they wanted slogans,

but not at Bulbucata.

They say one thing, then another.


With the inspection, they haven't
had time to eat or drink.

He'll be starving when he gets here.


We'll give him some of our wine
to perk him up!

You think he'll stay for lunch?

I suppose. We're the last village.

No pigeons, but we have these Cornish hens.

They're no good, they can't fly.

What are you up to?

Asshole! Watch your whore of a daughter!

It's coming!

The car's coming!

Put the books under that box.

Hurry up, Victor!
They'll catch us out of breath!

It's coming! The car's coming!

Come on. Everybody up! The banners!

Get that out of here! Bring the cow over!

Bring the cow over! Quickly!

Come on! Everybody up!

- Who's at the banner with you?
- Mihaita.

- Where is he?
- He has stomach cramps.


All together, now...

Hurray! Hurray!

Peace! Peace!

Why have they stopped?

Quick, bring the bread and salt.
Come on, Pioneers!

Down with the neutron bomb!

Welcome to our village!

What's with the cow? Why is it on the road?

At Bulbucata, I heard
they brought some animals out.

They were sheep, not cows.

The delegation includes guests
from India. So, no cows.

No problem, we'll get rid of them.

We should get some sheep.

They're grazing, Comrade Mayor.

Get them!


- Yes, sir!
- Bring some sheep down.

What are you doing here?

I thought they might recite a poem
if the cavalcade stops.

- It won't.
- Just in case...

Look at his ears!

- He's Comrade Mayor's grandson.
- So what?

Vasilica, go home! Send your sister here.

What's that fair doing here?

What fair?

It's the village fair tomorrow,
we organize it every year.

- Have it removed.
- Yes.

Remove it.

We found some pigeons

to throw in the air.

- White ones.
- Make them white.

So, can you get some sheep?

We're doing our best!

What's that smell?

It's from the chicken farm.
The wind brings it.

Come and see our stand.

If you shut it down,
why did I bother coming?

It's an order!

Who from?

It's a Party decision.

Let's try and talk with them.

Stay out of this!

It'll take time.


Take it down!

I'll tell you a better one.

In '79, I visited the
People's Republic of China and India!

They served us snake.

Did you eat it?

Sure! We couldn't offend them!

But I pretended.

- Would you like some?
- Trout!

You have trout here?

We have a trout farm in the village.

Did you know
trout's the easiest fish to digest?

Indeed, fish is the healthiest meat.

It contains iron. Look! These red dots.



- I don't have my glasses.
- They're iron deposits.

Wow! I had no idea!

Go tell the farm
to prepare a load of trout.


- Yes, it's a pleasure.
- Another drink?

OK, but this time, everybody drinks!

Just a drop for me!


Here's to tomorrow's visit!

Where's the toilet?

Over there.

We've got the goats.

They called to say...

- Sheep!
- Yes, sheep...

They're on their way.

Well done!

See? No problem.

It's not over until they've
passed through tomorrow!

Our Comrade Mayor is very pessimistic.

Comrade Sandu is a nice fellow.
I heard he was tougher.

That's his way.
He works hard and plays hard.

He loves music, parties,
fiddlers, traditional music...

He's from the country too.

Gheorghita, you have musicians?

- Gogu.
- Yes, sir!

- Florica!
- What?

Drop everything and come with me!

Come and sing for Comrade Mayor.

- I bring my cembalo?
- Yes!


- Another drink?
- No!

I have to work tomorrow
and we should go now.

Just a drop.


- Not for me.
- Comrade Mayor, I said everybody!


Hey, come here!

You know the Tudorita song?

The one that goes...

That's it!

Come and sit here so I can hear you better.


Yes, sir!

It's for you.

Sandu here.

I see.

Yes, sir!

The visit has been cancelled.
They're going to Constanta instead.

Holy shit!

Now you regret it?

After all we did to get ready!

Excuse me.

What do we do with the carousel?

We'll take a spin!

- Come on!
- I'm not going on it!

Comrade Mayor, I said everybody! Come on!

Hey, you, grab the coat! Come on, girl!

What are we waiting for?

Come on, everybody on!

Us too, boss?

- Comrade Mayor!
- He has a bad heart!

Shut up!

Luminita, let's swing together!

Comrade Mayor! I said everybody,
I mean everybody!

Everybody on!

Watch out!

Stop it, Florica!
Comrade Mayor's chucking up!


Stop the carousel, Florica!

Where are you, Florica?

Here I am.

Tell them to stop, Comrade Mayor is dying!

Tell who to stop?

How do you stop this thing?

Press the button!

Who's going to press it?

I don't know.

What are you doing up here, Florica?

You said everybody!

Oh, no! Comrade Mayor has fainted!

Stop the carousel!

Stop the carousel!

Florica! Turn it off!


I can't do anything about it.

How long is it going to spin?

Until it runs out of fuel.

How long?

I filled it up this morning!

Stop it once and for all!

Don't worry! The situation's under control!

Quick, or we'll lose Comrade Mayor!
Listen to him croaking!

Give him a slap!

- I can't reach!
- He mustn't swallow his tongue!

Gogu, shout for someone to stop us!


Not like that! We need to yell together!




What's ringing?

Are they calling us?

Comrade Mayor has woken up!

It's alright for some.

We work all night and they have a party!

Legend has it they were still spinning

when the motorcade turned up at the village


This one?

Yes, this one's fine.

Erase the photographer

and lift Comrade Ceausescu
to look a bit taller.

Taller? From this angle,
he's as tall as the Frenchman.

Stop arguing.

Just a bit taller, I said.

But first, let's take
a cigarette break, get some air.

- Which factory are they from?
- Timisoara, near home.

Then give me one.

When I see them coming,

I get shivers down my spine.

Don't start that again, uncle.

My poor father was always prepared...

He knew a black Volga might come
to pick him up at any time.

When he thought he was OK...

Yeah, then it came!

You know what? Once you're afraid,
they've got you anyway.

I bet you have your suitcase ready...

Should I prepare mine, too?

You can laugh...

Because you're too young to know.

Let's get back to work.


Except I took out the photographer
on this one.

It looks better.

So if it's suitable politically...

- What did you cut out?
- The journalist.

Well done.

You can't even tell.

But Comrade Secretary looks too...
He should look a bit taller.

What do you think, Comrade Costache?

Yes, indeed, he should.

I showed you the first version.

Comrade Technician, you're
telling me how to do my job?

Comrade Secretary has decided,
so just do what you're told!

I apologize for my young colleague,
he's new to all this.

We'll retouch it now.

Making him too tall

might seem bizarre

compared to how he looks on TV.

It's not for you to judge
how Comrade Ceausescu looks on TV.

Enough arguing, Comrades.

Your guidelines are clear.
Just follow them!

But the guidelines...

Shut up! You've 15 minutes to retouch it!

Mr. Vesper J'Espaing is coming tomorrow.

- Giscard d'Estaing.
- Right.

If we don't concentrate
on getting the paper out on time...

Relax, Comrade Secretary,
we have the summit's program.

The editorial's ready,
the 2nd and 3rd pages too.

Only the official photo
might cause a slight delay.

Go to the airport, take a quick picture,

retouch it and it's ready to print!

Scanteia must reach the workers
first thing in the morning.

Comrade Secretary, we'll do our best!

That won't be necessary, I promise.


The motorcade's just been past.
Are they here with the picture?

They should be here by now!

Hurry up!

Stop knocking!

Be quiet! Are you crazy?

You want to put me in jail?

You promised to stop mouthing off.

Go on!

Take these upstairs
and, please, no more remarks!

Comrades, I propose this one.
It fulfils all requirements.

Yes, but this one's quite good, too.

It's your decision,
but we must get a move on.

We have to get the presses rolling by 6.30!

The Party...

May I come in?

Yes, come in.

Come in, then!

Come on!

I didn't want to ruin anything.

You haven't.

Come upstairs with all your photos.

What's wrong now?

They'll tell you.

I've told him to shut up!

I don't want any problems
just before retiring.

- Comrade Costache is watching him!
- Oh, my...


Is there a problem? Perhaps I can help.

The problem is all the photos are the same.

But we've already made
the Comrade President taller.

Comrade Ceausescu is bare,

Sorry, I meant bareheaded.

And it's "Mr" Giscard d'Estaing!

Sorry, you're right, of course!

But as the Comrade Party Secretary
has noted,

it looks like Comrade Ceausescu

is taking his hat off
to Mr. Giscard d'Estaing.

He's taking his hat off to what
Mr. Vespar J'Espaing represents!

- Giscard d'Estaing.
- Right.

A capitalist society.

Why don't we choose another photo?

- They're all the same.
- I'll do the talking!

He's right.

It's a mistake. Protocol wasn't followed.

We'll have to find a solution
with the pictures we have.

And fast, if not,
we'll miss the train for Suceava.

Scanteia must reach our workers
before their morning shift!

That's exactly what I meant.

We'll put a hat on Ceausescu.

Or take Giscard d'Estaing's away.

Ideologically, what is better?

Fuck ideology!

Let's just get this sorted!

It'd be quicker to put

a hat on Comrade President's head.

Let's do it!

I'll see the trains wait in the station!

But have the photo
on the front page in half an hour!

Yes, sir!

- Long live the Supreme Commander!
- Stop that!


We're being as quick as we can!

Of course!

No, it's not quite ready,
just a few more minutes...

Inform him, yes.

My respects!

What did he say?

The boss is coming down.

Come in!

Is it ready?

You stay there.

He's feeling weak.

- Is it ready?
- The first attempt's drying.

- It looks fine.
- It's not finished!

Wait! It still needs retouching!

He's got his hat on. Let's go!

Stop the presses!

- Stop?
- Yes! And stop loading outside!

- You'll take responsibility?
- Yes!

Stop the presses!

They left the hat in his hand too!

You sent it to the Party?

Yes. The first copies that came out.

But I've stopped printing.

You're taking a taxi?

No. I'll walk to the metro station.

And you?

I'll take a taxi.
I'm exhausted after today.

What's the matter?

Good morning.

Throw all the papers down!

You help him!

Hurry up!

That's the lot.

Let's go.

Legend has it that it was the only time

Scanteia didn't reach the workers


Dear Comrades,

allow me to present
Comrade Decebal Stoenescu.


You've worked hard, followed instructions,

have even surpassed
most of the Plan's targets,

Allow me, though, Comrades

to express my disappointment

In the Party's fight
to eradicate illiteracy,

it is precisely our county, your county,

which gave our country great minds
such as Ciupercescu,

Vladeanu, Boeriu,


that now figures worst.

It has the highest level

of illiteracy in villages and small towns.

Comrades, communism
is not built in offices,

but on the ground

to wipe out illiteracy.

Dear Comrades,

Dear Comrade Secretary Decebal Stoenescu,

I swear before you,

and everybody here

that we will do
our utmost to wipe out illiteracy

in the villages
and rural localities of our county

by the end of the year.

Comrades, it is the duty
of every young activist

to be actively involved

in educating the villages and towns
that have been left behind.

I am convinced that
each one of them will go out

in order to accomplish this great goal.

The rain's washed the road away.

Is it much further?

See that pylon?

Head for it, take the road,

go over the hill
and you'll come to the village.

About 7 kilometers.

That way?

Straight ahead!

Good day!

Good day!

Do you have something to fix this?

A bit of rope or something...

A piece of wire. Great!

Do you have some water?

Piece of crap.



You don't have water?

What you're doing, Comrade, is dangerous.

Is Adancata that way?

Are you dumb?

I have a sore throat.

A draft?

From ice cream,

that my grandson brought.


Comrade Curelea,

Our biggest problem
is that we lack electricity.

It comes and goes.

Here, we don't have...

Hello, Radu!

Without it, there's no clinic, no school,

and when it rains heavily

it takes a week to get back to normal.


You saw for yourself
the state of the roads.

- Lovely sheep!
- Yes!

Last year, there was a pregnant woman.

I sent her to the clinic on a cart.

She gave birth in the fields!

I'm well aware of this, Comrade Mayor,

but you don't need electricity to study.

Didn't our parents study by lamplight?

You're absolutely right.

I promise by the end of the year,

we'll redouble our efforts

to convince parents to send
their kids to school more often.

By cart, on horse, however they can.

No, Comrade Mayor,

not only kids. All workers
should reap the fruit of education.


We have a room ready for you.

It's nothing special, but...
You are staying the night?

Comrade Mayor,
I'll stay as long as necessary.

I want to see the results myself.

We must make sacrifices!

Until a young activist is sent
to take care of it,

I'm responsible.

Comrade Curelea,
we don't even have a schoolroom.

Here's fine!

What do I need so much space for?

I can sleep anywhere.

It's perfect.

It's perfect. We'll put that bed here.

I'm sure we'll work well together.

Spread the word that anyone
illiterate should come tomorrow.

- Party's orders.
- I understand.

Good people!

The Comrade Mayor announces

that all illiterate people

must come to the village hall on Monday,

for comrade activist classes.

Good day, Ion.

Ion, the mayor made an announcement.

You must send your grandson
to the village hall.

What for?

To learn to read. An order from the county.


Good day, children.

Good day.

They're all here, Comrade Mayor?

All those that have come.

An illiteracy rate of 10%.

Where are the others?

Some are dead,
others are with their animals.

There isn't a single adult.

Comrade Curelea,

there's another factor.

People are ashamed to learn with kids.

You understand?

We'll start with the kids.

In 2 hours, I want a hall full of adults.

No matter their age!


Comrade Mayor...

I'm busy.

Come back in two hours.

Bring your sister-in-law,

your sister and anyone else

who's at home.

- Good day, Ion.
- Hello!


Comrade Mayor

wants you at the hall.

What for?

Literacy, they call it.

The Comrade wants to educate us.

But if everyone can write,
who'll watch the sheep?

"Those who come to the village hall,"

said Comrade Mayor,

Let the kids go to school,

we're past it.


for the gentleman. Some good cheese.

Take it when you leave.

I'm not leaving for a week!

I have a mission.

Anything else?

Anybody who's sent presents
instead of coming to school

must come tomorrow,
or I'll send the police!

I understand.

Dear Comrades,

our Party ensures
free education for every citizen.

The world is full of dangers.

We can only avoid them through education.

Here we have

a matchbox.

What is written?

Yes, but what does it say here?


I'll tell you.

"Keep out of the reach of children"

Do you know how many fires

are caused by children
playing with matches every year?



Innocents shouldn't be
sacrificed because of

parental ignorance.

Let's learn the alphabet,

and how to keep out of danger.

Comrade Teacher taught us
petrol is dangerous.

If a barn catches fire,
we mustn't throw water on it.

Take this.

Grandad, this can is no good.

What's wrong with it?

Let's see.

It's fine.



Come on, Comrades, louder,
a bit of enthusiasm.

The kids are putting you to shame.

Fine. Homework for tomorrow.

Write three sentences in your notebooks,

from a book, a newspaper
or something from home.

- Understood?
- Yes.

You didn't bring your grandfather?

He said he had to milk the sheep!

Comrade Topala!


or-fallen-wires. Danger.

Can you die if you touch the pylon?

Not at all.

Comrade Teacher told us
not to touch an electrocuted person.

We could be electrocuted too.

- The Comrade isn't a teacher.
- So what is he?

An activist.

What's an activist?

Tudorut, you're too little.

You'll understand when you grow up.

Hello, Ion.

Hello. Are you on holiday?

I'm sorry,
you have to go to school tomorrow.

It's better if you come willingly.

For God's sake!

Get out of here!

- Moise.
- Yes.

- Gavrila.
- Yes.




He's not here.


Then I'll go get him.

- Check the homework.
- Yes, Comrade!

- What?
- The Comrade Teacher's electrocuted!



Knowing Comrade Georgian Curelea

has been a blessing for our village.

He's opened our eyes
to the dangers around us

and taught us

how to be true citizens of our country.

Even though he has left us far too soon,

we will continue our fight,

with all our strength, against ignorance.

Dear Comrades,

thank you

for your hospitality.

I'm sure you now love learning!


And I'm sure you will continue studying

with Comrade Teacher Adriana.

Comrade Mayor

will present you with your diplomas.

All the best!

- Hello, Ion!
- Hello, Dumitre!

Legend has it by the end of the year,

the village reported a literacy rate of 99%


Come along, on the double.

- Good morning.
- Hello.

Is your father home?

He's gone to change the gas cylinder.

He took mine too.

I don't want to see you without your hat.

Your mother made the sandwiches?

- What sort?
- Sibiu salami.

- What's your first class?
- History.

With Comrade Vasilescu?

Hold on,

she's given the tests back?

History? Well...

No, no! Not yet!

Come on! Off to school!

- Careful crossing the road.
- OK.

Smoking those smelly things again!

What time did they get here?


I have two bottles.

Whose is the other cap?

My neighbor's, Alexa, from the first floor.

The policeman? Is he a Captain?

No, a Sergeant.

Why didn't he come himself?

He has trouble getting out of bed?

We help each other out.

If we have a test,

will you help me out?

Go on, my marks are bad.

- Don't be like that.
- Yes, I'll help you!

- You going to Georgiana's party?
- I'm not invited.

I am.

If you give her your sandwich every day...

You're stupid. She likes me.

Yeah, sure she does.

Let me copy your maths.

Don't do it exactly the same!

I'll change it.

Good morning!

Comrade Vasilescu is absent,
so we'll do physics, OK?


First the anthem.


Two, three and...

Three colors

I know in the world

That recall a noble people


for courage

In battle victorious

Who's absent?

Today, there are six.

- Who?
- Busuioc.

- What's wrong with him?
- His mother's sick.

- Who else?
- Marin.

Want some? It's with mortadella.

- What's his problem?
- He has a cold.

With Sibiu salami.

- Who else?
- Tomescu.

Loredana! Put that banana away!

You're making the others hungry.

Get out a piece of paper.

First subject: States of matter.

Everybody's writing?

And second: The gaseous state.

Will you help me?

My marks are bad...

Sibiu salami, right?

Sorry, I won't do it again. You forgive me?

I'll bring you some pork rind tomorrow.

- Pork rind? You're a liar!
- I'm not!

My uncle, Fane,
is bringing my father a pig.

Alexa, turn round!


Factors that influence temperature.


and sausages...

and the pig's ear.

Stop it, back there!

- Good afternoon!
- Hello.


Frozen sardines.

Any pork for Christmas?


Drop by tomorrow.
I'll have some pork shank.

At what time?

Look what I found the kids for Christmas.

Well done!

What a feat!


What is it?

Uncle Fane's here!

- How are you doing?
- Fine.

- Hello!
- Good evening.

- Where's your father?
- On his way down.

- How are you?
- Fine.

Still want to be a doctor?

- Your mother?
- Fine.


Quick, I can't drive after midnight
with the restrictions.

What the...

Shut it!


What the hell is that?

It's a pig!

It's alive.

So the doctor can see it's fresh.

- What can I do with a live pig?
- Slaughter it.

Where? In front of the block?

Want the neighbors to kill me
before Christmas?


Your brother-in-law's brought a live pig.

Goodness, it's fat!

Half for you, half for the doctor

who's tutoring Viviana.

How do we go about slaughtering it?

Fane, why did you bring it alive?

So the doctor can see it's "fresh"!

Get inside! Go and do your homework!

And take Mircea with you!
Go on, Mircea, scram.

Let's take it upstairs and then we'll see!

Check nobody's around.

You take the front legs.

- Does it bite?
- It's not a dog!

- I don't know, out of fear!
- No, no, he's tame.

Put it down!

- Shall we untie it?
- No, bring the blanket.

We'll put it on the blanket.

Hold the door.

- Costica!
- Leave it here.

That's it.

Talk to him, say his name.


You drive me crazy!

Wait, wait!

One, two...

Easy! Leave it here.

It's waking the whole neighborhood!

I'll be arrested.

Fane, what have you done to me?

It squeals if you look at it,
never mind killing it!

If we turn the TV up, will they hear then?

Of course they will!

We can't slaughter it.
It'll squeal the whole block awake.

What if we strangle it?


How about shooting it?

Go do your homework.

I've done it.

Do it again!


- What's up?
- The pig's alive.

I'm not sure they'll kill it tonight.

I don't care. You said
you'd bring rind tomorrow!

What if they don't kill it by tomorrow?

That's your problem.


I've untied it.

- Where's Uncle Fane?
- He left.

I've an idea...

Get out and don't let me set eyes on you.

Let him speak. What is it?

How about gassing him?

Go to your room and do your homework!

You want us to set the apartment on fire?

After, we open the windows
and the butane goes out.

Because it's lighter than air.

We did it today at school.

See what they teach them at school!

You heard?

Off you go!


Get the bottle from Grigore's.

At this hour?
He'll want to know what it's for!

So? Tell him!

What? That I'm gassing a pig?
Are you serious?

No! Say you're burning the hair off!

We'll have to share some with him too!

Then tell him we need to bake a cake.

Two weeks before Christmas? Great idea!


- What?
- Do you have Purfix at home?

What's that?

Purfix tape. For insulating windows.

- What do you need it for?
- I need it.

Let me have a look.

- What's that for?
- I need it.

- What for?
- For school.

- Wash your hands, dinner's ready.
- OK.

It's Ion.

- Good evening.
- Come in.

Sorry to bother you this late.
I need the gas cylinder.

- You did fill it?
- Of course.

- Hello!
- Good evening.

I'd have brought it,
but you said there was no hurry.

The kids had a class today
about butane gas.

I want to show my boy how it works.
His marks aren't good.

You're so lucky with Mircea.

Careful, they leak sometimes.

- Goodnight.
- Goodnight.


Let's herd him into the kitchen.

- He's so hairy!
- That's how pigs are.

The ones I've seen were bald.

Those already had the hair burned off.

Close the door!

Well done. He's in.

How are we going to burn the hair?

Let's see him
stretched out on the table first.

I'm so scared!

Turn off the lights
and don't strike any matches.

Everything will be OK.

Please, take out the fuse!

Get out of my way! Move it!

- I feel sorry for him.
- As if you didn't eat aspic!

No, we'll make sausages with him.

- And blood sausage?
- Definitely!

What was that?

I think that's for the plugs.

Unplug everything. It's safer.

The freezer will defrost.

So what? Let's be on the safe side.

I'm scared stiff!

Quiet! There! It's all disconnected.

Don't you worry.

Now how will you turn on the gas?

Shouldn't you have turned it on first?

It would've been dangerous.

Quiet now. Behave!

That damn stupid pig went for me!

What have you broken?

Listen to yourself! "What have you broken?"

The soda water bottle, that's what!

He bit me
and you're worried about breakage.

I think I've cut my leg. I'm bleeding.

Shall we turn the light back on?

We're not turning anything on!

Go to the bathroom and clean up.

Danut, go out on the balcony
until I call you!

- Can I listen to the radio?
- No!

- It runs on batteries!
- So what?

You want to blow us all up?
Don't listen to anything!

Help me, I feel faint.

Don't frighten me!

It's nothing. It's just the strain...

Did you take your tablets?

No, I'll just lie down.

Not here. You'll stain the couch.

Sit on the edge of the bath.

- Goodnight.
- Goodnight.

- Wanna smoke?
- Don't light it!

- It's a Carpati!
- Don't light it!

Why not?

- We'll all blow up!
- Blow up?

Our gas cylinder leaks.

We're out in the open. Nothing will happen.

You're stupid.

You are!
I won't give you anything tomorrow.


- Stay outside.
- I'm freezing.

Don't move.

Can we turn the lights on?

We need some fresh air first.

OK, I'm going in.

- Is he moving?
- Shut up!

What have I done now?

I couldn't see.

It's stopped grunting.

We should've waited longer.

It's very late.

We've got to burn it and cut it up yet.

Luckily we had that gas.

It's all gone.

- What?
- The gas.

We'll ask Grigore for theirs.

They don't cook much for Christmas.

- They might become suspicious.
- We'll give them something.

After all the trouble we've had!
We won't give them anything.

Come on...

go out onto the balcony,
I'll turn the lights on.

Wouldn't it be better to wait until morning

and do it then?

What if he's not dead
and he starts grunting again?

My God, I'm so afraid.

I'm a soldier, remember?

If I catch fire, throw a blanket over me.

The camel hair one?

Which one?

The yellow one.

That's fine.

No water. Just the blanket
and call an ambulance.

Stop talking like that. I'm already scared.

Shout when you're outside!

- Did something happen?
- No! It was just a draft.

Does it still smell?


Not anymore.

OK, I'm putting the fuse back in.

Great! We got away with it.

Thank God!

Is it moving?

It looks dead.

Here, use this.

Take that thing away!

Stone dead.

- We did it!
- Thank God!

Now, the hard part. Look how hairy it is!

- Get the blowtorch!
- No, I'm afraid.

Really! I am.

Stop it, you're driving me crazy.

Look, I'll light a match.

Afraid, afraid... You drive me crazy.


You scared me!


Close the window.
You're letting the heat out.

Aren't you asleep?


- We're burning the hair.
- Now?

What's it to you?

Good morning!

Good morning. Sit down.

I wanted to tell you...

Danut, what happened to you?

- Nothing.
- Nothing?

He faced a pig explosion!

A pig explosion?

A pig bomb.


Danut, sit down.

What, Georgiana?

Today's my birthday.

Happy birthday! Best wishes.
Let me give you a kiss.

Lead us in, please.

Happy birthday!

Two, three and...

Legend has it that the family used

what remained of the animal
for the seasonal celebrations


Good afternoon!

Good afternoon. Yes?

- Is your mother home?
- No.

- Your father?
- No. They're both at work.

That's a bit of a problem...

I'm an inspector from the People's Council.

I'm Crina.

One of your neighbors complained
about dirty tap water.

Yes, it's yellowish.

We need to do a thorough check
in your apartment.

Sorry, I can't let anybody in.

Look, here's my ID.

ID or no ID, if my parents aren't home

I can't let anyone in.

Can you get me a sample?
So I don't have to come back.

A sample?

Some water to determine
the cause of the pollution.

What should I put it in?

Any clean recipient clear of any chemicals.

Even a jar's fine.

I'll have a look. I'll close the door.

No problem.

Is this OK?

- It's a bit dusty.
- It's fine.

Is that all?

See, no need to be scared.

How much were the French classes?

600 lei.

Isn't it 50 lei per class?

I included the transport.

That's 100 lei.

She bought flowers for her teacher.

And she bought something else,
I don't know what...

How much does she want now?

300 lei.


All her classmates are going.

Your soup's on the table, dear.

So when are you going to this holiday camp?

It's not a camp.

May 1st is a Thursday this year
and we've no school on Friday.

You're going on your own?

Teachers are coming,
but we've organized it.

And where will you stay?

At the Forum, in Costinesti.

The Forum costs 300 lei?

It's 300 lei all included:
Transport, meals, everything.

Listen, we'd like you to go,

but this Monday we have to pay an advance

on the Dacia and we're a bit short.

So, can I go or not?

Yes, but stay at aunt Didina's
in Constanta.

It takes half an hour
to go to Costinesti by bus.

You've been saving money
for this crappy car for years.

It'll be yours one day.

Better to take the bus
than eat yoghurt all your life.



Coming to the party?

No. I've just had a fight with Dad.

Come on, they have a video player.

Shall I ring at your door?

No, don't bother.

Shall I wait for you?

I'm coming down.

I'm going down to talk to Roxana.

Don't you have a French test tomorrow?

I've studied all week.

Be back by 10.

- Is he a student?
- I think so.

He's lent our block his video player.

What's his name?

Bughi, I think.

I was trembling so much
I forgot my own name.

- He's damn gorgeous!
- Shut up!

Hi, what's your name?


Crina, what a nice name. Shall we dance?



I don't want to.

Later, maybe?


Make room for my friend.

This is Bughi.

- Crina.
- Bughi.

What film is it?

Bonnie and Clyde.

Didn't you ask me for a bottle today?

You said you were from
the People's Council.

Give me a smoke.

I'm going.


Wait, where are you going?

Where's Roxana?

- Who's Roxana?
- Your date!

She's a nice girl but she's not my date.

Listen, I'm not hitting on you or anything,

I just wanted to say sorry for today.

I don't usually do that
in my neighborhood, but...

Do what?

You know, knocking on doors and...

So, what's the trick?

You want to know?

You've made me curious.

It's a long story.

Make it short.

It's a trick to make money.

I've got that much. But what's the scheme?

You want to know too much.

Afraid I'll steal your trick?

You never know...

Come on, I need to earn some money, fast!

Then work for it like honest folk.

Is that what you do?

Never mind me.

So, you won't tell me.

You have the time?

I've got to be home by 10.

You smoke?

Afraid your dad will smell it?

How did you guess?

I've got to go.

You can come with me if you want.

Can I?

You got the nerve?

Depends. What do I have to do?

You'll see.


You free tomorrow?

I've got school in the morning.


- After school, then!
- OK.

- Bye.
- Bye.

What are you doing with that book?


The biology book under your desk.

I wanted some more paper.

You haven't even started yet.

He has no inspiration, Miss.


Give me that book

so you're not distracted.


Good afternoon.

Sorry to interrupt. Crina's father
from the factory sent me...


The boiler in their block blew
and flooded the apartment.

She has to go home and unlock the door.

We're in the middle of a test.

I've finished.


You can go, then.

Is that your car?

It's the first one I found unlocked.

Any particular block?

Don't say a word. Just watch.

- Right?
- Yes.

Wait there, on the stairs.

Be quiet, Tarzan!

Good afternoon.

I'm from the Ministry of Chemistry.


I need to know
if your tap water's fine, Madam?

I mean, does it taste alright?

Citizens have complained about
the water, so we're doing a study.

Yes, it's cloudy.

Can we take a sample from your apartment,

to test it?

Come after two o'clock
when my husband's home.

I have to give the samples
to the Ministry by two o'clock.

I don't know...

My husband did lodge a complaint,
but I know nothing about it.

It's very simple, you just have to
give me a bottle of tap water.

A bottle of tap water?


From the kitchen or the bathroom?

Either will do.

It's dirtier in the kitchen.

From the kitchen, then.

OK. One moment please.

- Is a liter enough?
- A liter is perfect.

All this nonsense just for a lousy bottle?


What's your father do?

What's his job?

He's a technician.

What does he earn?

A bit more than a couple of grand.

Let's say he earns 2400 lei, OK?

Divided by 26 days...

That works out at... 10 lei an hour.

If I want, I can earn 20 an hour.

And I don't have a boss,
I don't stand around all day.

I work as much as I want...

But you can't afford to buy a car.

A car? Take it slowly.

You can buy a video player.

- No, you can't.
- Sure you can.

Is that how you bought yours?

A guy bought a scooter
just selling bottles.

I don't believe it.

I'm telling you!

Shall we go in?

How long will it take to make 300 lei?

Depends how hard you work.

- If you collect 100 bottles a day...
- Impossible.

- Why not?
- Not enough hours in the day.

I'd like to give it a go.

You'd like to give it a go.

Good afternoon!

Ministry of Chemistry.

We're testing the tap water.

Go to the 9th floor,
talk to the administrator.

The 9th floor.

We spoke to him, he said
your tap water has sand in.

It looks like coffee!

The Ministry doesn't believe it.
Could you give us a sample?

Let them come and see for themselves.

We'll sort it out quicker
if you give us some.

- A jar's OK?
- A bottle's better.

Come and take one yourself
so I don't make a mistake.

- Is this one OK?
- Excellent.

Would you like some jam?

No, thank you.

It's rose jam.

Thanks, but I'm allergic to flowers.

Look at that!

You should see the laundry!

The sheets come out of the wash
with rust on.

- It's the same in the bathroom?
- It is!

Give us a bathroom sample too.

- In the same bottle?
- No, another one.

Let me look for one...

Why shouldn't we go in?

There could be someone else in the house.

The husband, the son,


You're afraid?

No, but a bottle isn't worth the risk.

It's not for the bottle.

You know what I'm talking about.

Listen, I have an idea.

Ministry of Chemistry,
about pollution from the factory.

Have you any ID?

Yes, sure.

I left it in the car. I'll go and get it.

No, here it is!

What's it about?

The quality of the air.

It stinks awfully.

Indeed, we've received a complaint and...

A complaint? I've lodged three myself!

We've received several...

May we take some samples
from your apartment?

Why? You don't believe me?

We do, but...

a chemical analysis of the air
is required...

And what should I do?

We'll take some air samples.
It'll take 2 minutes.

Come in, then.

Where does it smell worst?

The whole house stinks
but the living room's the worst.


Yes, you can smell it.

You have a cat?

A tomcat, but it's not his smell.

I know his smell, this is from the plant.

I can smell ammonia.

Listen, I hang my socks out
to dry on the balcony

and in the morning they're yellow.

You know what we need to do?

I'll take a sample from the living room.

Please do!

Do you have a jar?

You mean a sterile jar?

Any jar will do.

Coming right up.

Will this do?

No, it smells of mustard.
We need a glass one.

A glass one?

Can you choose one?

Look up there!

- It's 75 cl.
- It's perfect.

But it still smells. It had pickles in it.

It's fine, that won't alter it.

- And a lid!
- A lid.

It does smell in here.

The entire house stinks! Please, take it!


I'll take a sample.


And from the living room too.

Please do!

Do you have another bottle or jar?

- What about these?
- They're perfect.

They're clean. My wife washed them to sell.

In the bathroom?

No point, there's no window in there.

In the bedroom, then.

The smell goes up.

Of course, air is light and rises!


That's it?

We're finished.

Thank you.

It's great you're doing this.

I hope you don't mind me asking...

How come you don't get
the samples mixed up?

- How come?
- Yes.


Why do you think we asked you
for a jar for the kitchen,

a beer bottle for the bedroom,

and a ketchup jar

for the hall?

And what do you do
in three-room apartments?

We ask for champagne bottles.

They can afford to drink champagne.

Well done, kids.
You've thought of everything.

We're in a hurry.

Goodbye, then.

My ID, please.

Listen, do you think
we can make 300 lei by tonight?

I'll give you 300.

I don't want you to.

You can't earn that by tonight.

You bet?

- How much?
- 50 lei.


- Any more?
- These here.

I'm not taking this one.

- Why not?
- It's not clean.

They were all washed!

Don't argue! I don't have to take
80 bottles from you.

You have to take them all.

I'll take as many as I can pay for,

194 lei and 50 bani.

Together or separate?

- Together.
- Separate.

I'll give it to you together

and you sort it out.

Don't come again with so many bottles!

Thank you!

What if he remembers me?

It's not good.

The lower your profile, the better.

How often do you think
somebody comes with 100 bottles?

- Here.
- Forget it.

No, I lost.

How long would this take to buy a car?


How many bottles?

For a Dacia?

Not a Dacia, say a Lastun.

You'd need 5 or 6000 bottles
for a Lastun, maybe more...

If you collect 500 bottles a month,
you can buy it in a year.

You can't.

For example, today, two people,
three blocks, 200 lei.

- We need to be more efficient.
- Yeah, we rob a bank.

Want to watch a video tonight?

I have to be home by 10.

- I'll talk to your father.
- Right, thanks.

I've got it!

Excuse me.

Could you explain it again?

What didn't you understand?

Why do we need samples
from every apartment?

Like I said,

we measure the degree of pollution
on each floor

on both sides of the block

to determine the cause of the pollution.

It's from the chemical plant.

Why do we need to test it?

Can you detect the chemicals by smell?

No, I can't.

So, we have to carry out tests

to determine the cause, to find solutions.

When will you come to collect it?

Whenever you're ready.

I don't know...

I can put a note up on the bulletin board,

because calling at every apartment

would take a week!

We need them on Thursday.

That's in two days time!

- I don't know...
- Comrade Administrator!

Workers' Day is coming up.
We'll celebrate it properly. Agreed?

Agreed. But you'll have to
pick the bottles up

and take them back yourselves.

There's no way I can do it.

We'll come and pick them up.

On Thursday at 11.

Yes, Comrade. Thursday at 11.


I don't know if this is going to work.


We fooled him today, but if he checks...

That's why I said Thursday.

One phone call and we're done for.

It was your idea!

I didn't really think we'd do it.

If you want, we'll just forget about it.

If they call the police,
we're in deep trouble.

I'd get at least five years.

You're fine, you're underage.

They'd get me for corrupting you.

If they send me to jail,
will you wait for me?

Will you?

Listen, I have to go.

You and your school!

Is it raining?

It's just started.

- What are you making?
- French toast.

What's this for?

Your holiday camp.

It's not a holiday camp.

Aren't you glad?

Of course I am.

What about the Dacia?

We'll manage.


I'm looking for Bughi.

Who's Bughi?

The boy with the video player.

Is Bughi the guy with the video?

No idea.

I won't come in. Can you please get him?

What's up?

I want us to go tomorrow.


To collect those bottles.

Are you sure?

Well, I'm going. You coming with me?



I'm going home now.
See you at the block at 11.

- At 11.
- Bye.

Will we have room for them all?

We can make a second trip.

I asked them to put them all
together in one apartment.

Good day, Mr. Albu.

We've come for the bottles.

Please, come in.

We can't. They're in a hurry.

How come? I've made some coffee.

Really, you needn't bother.

It's no bother, come in please.

You take that down
and I'll wait for you here.

I'll go check the next block.

Go on, we'll wait for you.

Where's Bughi?

- Where's Bughi?
- Who's Bughi?

- What?
- They called the police.

They're downstairs.

What's this about the police?

Nothing. It'll be cleared up immediately.

Don't play games with me!

We're not playing games.

- Hold still!
- Let him go!

You damn thieves!

Catch them!

They're thieves!

Catch those thieves!

It's not far, we can jump!

Let's jump!

They're coming.

Calm down, will you?

- They'll catch us.
- They already have.

We can jump!

You think if you jump,
there's somewhere to run?

You're scared.

Yes, I'm scared. So what?

The police will take you to jail.

Nobody's going to put me in jail.

My uncle's a Party Secretary.
One call and I'm out.

- He's a Party Secretary?
- Yes.

Stay calm, I'll talk to them.

There's nothing to see.
Gentlemen, move along.

Go home now, folks.

Legend has it that
with the end of communism,

Romanians bought Dacia cars
with empty bottles



Do you have any more to do?

This one and I'm done.

- Grigore!
- What?

You want some fish? My nephew's
coming from Babadag today.

My wife's fasting for Lent.

It's Annunciation on Sunday.
We can eat fish.

I'll get back to you.


Fane asked if we want fish.

What kind?

Fresh fish. His nephew's
bringing it from Babadag.

How much is it?

- He didn't say.
- Ask him.

Hold this.

You're losing a button.

How many eggs can you get me?

Last year, they gave each employee
two boxes, but you never know.

I'll see if I can have my nephew's as well.

Has he got used to his job?

A job's a job.


I met this guy from the printing house.

I can get you some red paint
for Easter eggs.

We have some left from last year.

If I've no eggs for Easter,
my wife will kill me.

Vladut! It's Daktari!

Come on, Daktari's starting!

Good morning, Grigore.


Normally you have no business in here.

But before you leave, come
and get the stuff for the road.

What stuff?

For the police, if they stop you.

- Even if it's all in order?
- Yes.

When they see the chicken truck,
they'll stop you.

What's in there?

Gizzards and a chicken.

This is Sebi, the new driver.

- Sebi.
- Ionut.

What are you doing for Easter?

I'm going to my Grandma's.

Can I take your eggs, then?

I'll have to ask Grandma.

Can you get me a lamb for Easter?

Folks don't keep sheep any more
but I'll ask around.

- You've already driven livestock?
- No.

Rule number one:
You can't stop for the night.

Whether you're going 100 km or 800,
you don't stop.

Not even to give them water?

No food, no water, nothing.

You just get to where you're going.

Rule number two:
The chickens stay locked up.

The truck stays sealed. Understood?


If you have time,
you can stop and have some soup.

But it's better to take your own food.

When you can, ask for gizzards or livers.

Nobody will notice if you
take half for yourself.

It's harder with a whole chicken.

You've been doing this long?

I've been driving poultry
to Constanta since '84.

You never sleep?

I nap in the cabin, if I really have to.

I've always made it
to the destination by night fall.

- Good luck.
- Thank you.


Why must we arrive
at the destination the same day?

That's the rule!

Is the boss in?

She's busy.

I'd like a word with her.

Sit down, she'll come over.

- What's today's soup?
- Beef.


How are you, Grigore?

How's the road over here?


I got stuck in the blizzard on Saturday.

By the time I found a tractor,
my side mirrors had gone.

At 3 o'clock in the afternoon.

Gelu got stuck too.

Three sheep died in his truck.

Listen, do you think Gelu
can get me a lamb?

He's in hospital.

He collapsed and an ambulance
took him to hospital.

What's wrong with him?

Something with his liver.

I'm surprised, he rarely drinks,
and then only plum brandy.

At least I'll die knowing
I drank and fucked all I wanted.

Where's the boss?

She's with the guy from the county offices.

Easter is coming up,
they're getting supplies in.

Come on, we're starving!

I'm by myself.

Leave the soup. Fetch more bread.

The boss is busy.
You can give me the things.

Get a move on!

And some sugar, 20 kilos...

For you, Miss...

And a few hundred eggs?

Why do you need so many eggs?

We paint some and bake Easter cakes.

I'll try and get a couple of crates.

It's not easy to get eggs before Easter.

And Turkish delight?

- Excuse me, Camelia.
- I'm busy.

I've brought you some gizzards.

Can I give you some sugar?

We'll settle up another time.

You sell them separately now?

Ask Mariana for whatever you need.

I'll be back before Easter, We'll see then.

You think you can get me some eggs?

I said I would.

You said two crates. I need more.

Sure, I'll get you some eggs. Will 100 do?

If you can.

- Name?
- Radu Marian.

Radu Marian. Two.

- Hello, Grigore.
- Hello.

I'll take Ionut's eggs too.

Does he know about it?

Sure. I've talked to him.

And his second crate?

New employees only get one.

Hey, some people get extra?

Mind your own business.
They're for his nephew, Ionut.

No hot water?


The food is on the table.

They gave us our eggs for Easter tonight.

A crate each.

Maybe Ionut will give us his eggs.

You don't think they need them?

Bring me the pot of hot water on the stove.

You stopped fasting?

The fish roe salad is for you.

Shall I pour it for you?

I'll do it.

The boss?

In the kitchen.


May I?


I've brought the eggs.

I could only bring 60.

60 is fine. We can't find
any eggs at all round here.

Sit down. Are you in a hurry?

No, you carry on.

Do you want some peas?

No, thanks.

Why? You're in a hurry?

I have to be at the port by 11 pm.


Just wondering.

Drivers usually stop here for the night.

With poultry, you have to arrive
before nightfall.

They're very strict about it.

Isn't it hard? Always on the road?

You get used to everything.

But I'd like to retire
to a place like this.

Really? You like it here?

Fresh air, peace and quiet...

It isn't easy here, you know.

Isn't it hard,
doing everything by yourself?

Of course.

And with the food shortages,
it's a struggle.

And it's harder for a woman.

Doesn't the guy from the centre
keep you supplied?

With what he gives me...

Selling to the public brings in more money.

By the way,
can you get hold of some chicken?

It's not easy.

Why? Does somebody count
the chickens in your truck?

It's sealed and can't be opened
until delivery.

You've some flour...

I got you some sugar and flour, for Easter.


I understand.

I understand.

They've been told I'll be late?
Should I call them?


If Sebi brings the tires in the morning

I'll be at the port by noon.

Yes, I understand.


So, you're spending the night?

It's open.

- A clean towel.
- Thank you.

The bathroom's in the hall.
A blanket's in the wardrobe.


Anything else?

No, you can go. Thanks.


Leave that. I'll clear it up later.

No problem.

- You need anything else?
- No.

Is the yeast good?


With bad yeast,
you can knead away, it won't rise.

You know how to cook?

A little.

Men who can cook are few and far between.

In a household, it's good to know
how to do everything.

If you want, there's some wine left.

Thank you.

- Shall I pour you a glass?
- No.

I can't drink alone.

OK, just a drop.


You can take the bottle to your room.

I've had enough.


Camelia? Come here.

What is it?

I've brought you more eggs.

Where from?

The chickens in the truck.

You opened it!

They told me to give them water
before I leave.

And what happens to all those eggs?

I don't know.
I never opened the truck before.

Are you taking the chickens
to another farm?

I don't know. They're for export.

And how many chickens
do you have in your truck?

Well, there are 400 cages...

So there must be 2000 or 3000 chickens.


Just thinking...

You have a 1000 lei's worth of eggs.


Know what?

I could sell them like that,
with Easter coming.

But they're not mine.

Whose are they, then?

You think anybody's going to ask for them?

I don't know. Why risk it?

You could earn a few thousand lei.

I'm not desperate for money.

Besides, I have to deliver by noon.

Gathering all those eggs takes time.

It's up to you.

But it's a shame to waste them
before Easter.

Coming to bed?


You're driving tomorrow?


To Constanta?



How are you?

Very busy.

How's business?

Could be better but I'm not complaining.

- Did you manage...
- What?

To sell those eggs? Like hotcakes.

I could've sold twice as many.

- Are you busy?
- Yes, but go on in.

I've brought a cake I made
and a bottle of wine.

There's people waiting outside.
I won't be free for a while.

How long?

You're in a hurry?

I have to be at the port by 7.

You're not staying tonight?

I can't.

Pity. Tomorrow's Saturday,
people come from town to buy.

Yes, I know, but...

- Where are the blankets?
- Over there.

There's no way you can stay?

Really, I can't.

- Madam?
- Eggs.

- You have any change?
- No, sorry.

Take these. I'll get your change.

First he was kept at the police station

and now he's in jail.

Why did it take so long?

He didn't want to sign the statement.

- And now he's signed it?
- Yes.

The trial begins next week.

What will he get?

Who knows?
At least he's allowed visitors now.

Four kebabs with mustard, please.

Are the kebabs fresh?


Four kebabs with mustard.

Got used to the route?

- Surugiu.
- Present.

A visitor.

To the right.

Legend has it that many Romanians

were forced to steal
in order to survive during the '80s

Translation adaptation: Philip O'Ceallaigh