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12:08 East of Bucharest ( ) is a Romanianmarker film, released in 2006 and winner of the Camera d'Or Prize (for best first film) at the Cannes Film Festivalmarker. It was also released in the United Statesmarker under the abridged titles East of Bucharest and 12:08 Bucharest. The film is set in the city of Vasluimarker, and centers on a group of characters who revisit the Romanian Revolution of 1989 which brought an end to the communist regime.

The full English title refers to the setting of the film and the time of day at which Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu fled following the revolution, 12:08 pm on December 22, 1989. The original Romanian title roughly translates to "Was There or Wasn't There?", referring to the film's central issue: did Vaslui have any part in the 1989 revolution? The answer depends on whether the city registered any protest before the moment of Ceauşescu's flight.


The American review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 95% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 44 reviews. Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 77 out of 100, based on 15 reviews.

The film has garnered positive press in the United States; J. Hoberman of The Village Voice called it, "a casually bleak and neatly structured ensemble comedy—at once deadpan and bemused." Noel Murray of The A.V. Club said "the story and the situation are slight, but in the best possible way." Richard Brody of The New Yorker called it a "wise and gentle comedy of political realism." Wendy Ide of The Times described the film as "one of the best of the new wave of Romanian cinema" and "a droll delight that questions the nature of historical record and the realities of postcommunist Romania with a slyly comic and disarmingly self-mocking tone." Also, it got a perfect 4 stars out of 4 from the New York Post.

V.A. Musetto of the New York Post named 12:08 East of Bucharest the best film of 2007. A.O. Scott of The New York Times named it the 6th best film of 2007 (along with Live-In Maid).


  1. J. Hoberman "The Revolution Must Be Televised", The Village Voice, March 29, 2007
  2. Noel Murray, "12:08 East Of Bucharest", The A.V. Club, June 7, 2007
  3. Wendy Ide, "Film Review: 12:08 East Of Bucharest", The Times, August 16, 2007

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