(aka "12:08 East of Bucharest" or "12:08 Bucharest")


directed by Corneliu Porumboiu
Romania 2006


Romania's former communist dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu, fled Bucharest by helicopter on 22 December 1989. In 12:08 East of Bucharest, director Corneliu Poromboiu paints a portrait of small town Romania 16 years after that revolution. Old man Piscosi (Mircea Andreescu) and school teacher Manescu (Ion Sapdaru) appear on a local television station to debate how the revolution played out in Vaslui; soon the town is divided over the truth. This is a funny, gentle film that understands the wearying nature of political upheaval.

12:08 took the Camera D'or for best first film at Cannes in 2006, and it's easy to see why. We get three strong performances from the central actors - Corban excels as the bullying, insecure Jderescu - and a tightly constructed narrative that conjures great interest from small, anecdotal events. Crucially, it's all held together by Porumboiu's wonderful lightness of touch; politics, here, is leavened by a gentle sense of the absurdity of small-town life, and even some great one liners. An unexpected gem.

David Mattin (BBCi Films)


Theatrical Release: September 29, 2006

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DVD Review: Tartan Video - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Daniel Mott for the Review!

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Tartan Video

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 1:25:10 (4% PAL speedup)

1.66:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.75 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio Romanian (Dolby Digital Stereo 2.0 and 5.1, DTS 5.1)
Subtitles English, Spanish or None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Tartan Video

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.66:1

Edition Details:
• Director Commentary
• Original Theatrical Trailer
• Tartan Video Trailers

DVD Release Date: October 9, 2007
Keep Case

Chapters 13



I've got a few gripes with this Tartan release. The DVD seems to be transferred from PAL without proper conversion, resulting in minor combing (no ghosting though) and a shorter runtime than the announced one.

The image has hints of edge enhancement and some digital noise and softness, but it's acceptable. The sound is clear and a DTS track is included although I can't really see it adding anything to this film which is quite documentary and "speaky".

I haven't seen the Artificial Eye release but suspect it's better. A minor complaint is that the menus are somewhat hard to read with the red background and thin font.

The film was a fun way to spend an hour and a half though, and I'd recommend watching it. It's good to see how many well made and interesting films are coming out of Romania lately.

 - Daniel Mott


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Minor combing...




DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:


Tartan Video

Region 1 - NTSC


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