For a long while, Andrei Ujica's darkly ironic compilation film about dumpy, disastrous Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu feels like a pie-in-the-sky daydream. Nicolae toddles about as guest of honor/Mr. Popularity/most valuable comrade at state ceremonies and diplomatic visits everywhere from the U.K. to China, standing before Jimmy Carter, Charles De Gaulle, and hundreds of terrified North Korean dancers. It's the utopian official vision of the Romanian state purring right along. But "utopia," according to its Greek etymology, means "nowhere," and the old-school Communist glory only truly existed one place—on film, as shown through the propaganda footage reappropriated by Ujica and editor Dana Bunescu from national archives. Call the film's voice first-person-dictator: Reorganized, this is Ceausescu's—and Communist Romania's—life flashing before his eyes, a tweaked official record bookended by the tyrant's final, camcordered moments with his wife in rumpled captivity, during... More >>>