Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Legend of the Party Photographer and Tales from the Golden Era

by Drew Martin
If you like Photoshop mishaps and disasters but cannot remember a time before this image enhancement program was part of our lives at work and daily media consumption, then take a look at The Legend of the Party Photographer, one of six well-crafted short films that comprise Tales from the Golden Era.

Set in 1980s communist Romania, 
The Legend of the Party Photographer is about the old-school retouching of a black and white film print in order to make Romanian tyrant Nicolae Ceausescu taller than the visiting French president ValĂ©ry Giscard d’Estaing. The party editors also want to add a hat to Ceausecu's bare head because they think it looks like he is saluting d'Estaing. In a hurried retouch without paying heed to the young photographer who wants to finish the picture, the image is whisked away and printed with a mistake that causes panic and a total recall.

Tales from the Golden Era is a brilliant film from 2009 that captures the absurdities and setting of this lost time and place behind the iron curtain, but it does so with such intelligence and wit that the director Cristian Mungiu serves us a very watchable film.