The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu

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Imagine Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette if it were told entirely through documentary footage and news reports. You don't get pink cakes and hairdos here, but Andrei Ujica's found-footage assembly of Romanian president Nicolae Ceausescu's many public appearances imparts the same queasy sensation of an endless, orgiastic soiree that comes to an abrupt, masses-uprising climax. There are no identifying titles or narration—just images of Ceausescu feted by U.S. Presidents or in ridiculously lavish parades. It all seems to happen in some vaguely defined void where politics takes a backseat to adoring public displays. That's the point: Ujica gives us a powerful sense of how divorced our leaders can become from their constituents. Any parallels come to mind?—Keith Uhlich

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