ARTS & LEISURE

The Ceausescus’ last days

Big screen premiere on Friday for „Three days Till Christmas”, a film depicting the dictator’s denouement, from his Central Committee balcony speech to his facing the firing squad.

Director Radu Gabrea’s “Three Days Till Christmas”, a film whose protagonists are The Ceausescus, hits the Romanian big screens this weekend. The film describes the last days in the dictator’s life, from both a factual, documentary and human angle.Actor Constantin Cojocaru portrays the late dictator, and actress Victoria Cocias that of “his sinister wife”, as the post-December press used to call her. Both protagonists played their respective parts in a theater play as well. Also starring in the film are Costel Cascaval, Mircea Rusu, Ion Grosu and Daniel Popa. The screenplay was written by Grigore Cartianu, a journalist who wrote several books in which he revealed the crimes in the Romanian Revolution of December 1989.Speaking about his role, Constantin Cojocaru said: “When you approach a historic character as a man alive, you come to see history in a totally different light. Sure, Ceausescu was a dictator, an old communist who spoke a wooden language, a hardwood one, beech, oak or whatever. Yet, I had to get close to him from a human perspective, since, otherwise, this film would have come out as an wooden one with an wooden character played by an wooden actor”.Radu Gabrea’s film is a combination of fact and fiction, as it includes real-life interviews with eyewitnesses, archive newsreel footage, yet, from the moment history remains but a blank dot, the director “colored” it with a bit fiction. Thus, the film contains several little-know moments, for example, what the Ceausescus did after the helicopter pilot who flew them from the Central Committee rooftop left them onto a field.  Thence, we enter the realm of a road movie presenting the dictator’s desperate attempt to reach the workers at the special steel complex in Targoviste who he believed are still loyal to him, their way to Targoviste aboard a car driven by a frightened driver and Ceausescu’s state of shock when he realizes that everybody hates him actually. “Let’s leave the historic perspective aside and just imagine two old people left on a plain all alone,” this is Constantin Cojocaru’s proposal to the viewers „They reach the road, hitchhiking cars. Romania’s President, the supreme commander of the armed forces turned into a hitchhiker. Rather comical, isn’t it? The first car approaching him slows down and when the driver recognizes him, he steps on the gas and leaves as fast as he can. The driver of a second car picks him up, takes him to the special steel complex, yet, the driver would only take him to the backdoor. “Why at the backdoor?” a revolted Ceausescu asks. «I am the president of the Socialist Republic of Romania, the most beloved son of the nation. I came to the people. I want to enter the front door!» Only that, in the factory yard, workers gathered shouting for joy that the dictator had fled Bucharest: «Ole, ole, ole, Ceausescu is no more!» and «Death to the Dictator!» You realize he was in shock! Hardly then the mist in his eyes begins to clear.”

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