History is mostly interpretation. It does not only file facts, but it analyzes what those facts mean, and not all things have the same meaning for all people. With so many books and documentaries available, we’re fortunate to live times when vast information is readily available, but also responsible for sifting through the data and forming our own opinions.
“The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu” is a documentary with a rare quality – it does not have any kind of expert commentary, explanations, or testimonials. It is just a clever montage of old footage that tells the story of communist Romania and its notorious former leader Nicolae Ceausescu, from the death of Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej in 1965 to the Romanian Revolution of 1989.
There has been a trend to demonize Ceausescu while, ironically, minimizing the impact that communism had on the Romanian society at large. Time has passed, and the relevance this part of history still has today is questioned more and more by public commentators. I’m going to elaborate on this topic in a future article.
Right here and now, I’m recommending this fascinating collection of archive footage that will appeal to anyone who is interested in contemporary history and doesn’t necessarily need the explanations of a narrator. Watch Ceausescu’s Romania and Romania’s Ceausescu defining each other over the course of time. See him in different postures and roles, in formal and informal settings, witnessing and making history, loved and hated, simple and eccentric, an idealist who apparently never knew there was a difference between the Romanian ideal he had in his mind and the real Romanian people. Read between the lines, observe paradoxes, allow questions to start in your mind.
I liked the cleanness of this film. It is a bit long, approximately 3 hours, but you don’t have to watch it all at once. However, one needs a certain level of knowledge, intelligence, and comprehension, to understand it, not to mention the essential condition – real interest for the topic.
You can find details about “The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu”, directed by Andrei Ujica, at http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1646958/. Find the DVD and let the images speak; what you understand is up to you 🙂