Videogramme einer Revolution (1992)


Videogramme einer Revolution Storyline

This documentary uses news footage and amateur video to paint a vivid picture of Romania’s 1989 revolution and the fall of dictator Nicolae Ceausescu.

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Videogramme einer Revolution Movie Reviews

Turbulent times in Romanian history

“Videogramme einer Revolution” or “Videogram of a Revolution” is a co-production between German and Romania and this film was made back in 1992, which means next year it will have its 25th anniversary. The duo who wrote this and directed it too were Harun Farocki and Andrei Ujica. Ujica is certainly now known today (anymore) to people outside Romania or here in Germany in particular, but he brings the connection to the contents of this film and without him this never would have been made. Farocki, however, is known here in Germany because of his many works in the last decades, even if he is certainly not as much of a household name either like Christian Petzold for example with whom he worked on several movies. This film is a first-hand recording of the tumultuous events in the late 1980s in Germany when violent dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife Elena were overthrown and executed by the Romanian people and the Romanian Army. Everything you see and hear during these 105 minutes is video and audio footage from back then. You see the people riot in the streets, under the balcony, you see television news coverage and what happened during these shows in the face of this revolution and of course there are also many interviews in here, mostly with normal people like you and me from the streets and how they saw it all. And you see how some of the bad guys (from the Ceausescus posse, his longtime helpers) are arrested and the police officers have difficulties to control their aggressions against this regime. This is basically all what this film is about and you need to decide for yourself if this sounds appealing enough to sit through this for 100 minutes and longer. I myself think this was a decent watch. It may have been slightly shorter, but as a whole it is still a really convincing and important achievement and for Romanians I would even call it close to a must-see. Everybody else needs to decide if the end of the Cold War era and the country this is about in particular is interesting enough for them to check this one out. I give it a thumbs-up.

Amateur video footage best accompanied by an encyclopedia article.

This documentary consists solely of amateur and TV crew video footage spanning the few days of the Romanian Revolution. Not knowing anything about the revolution beforehand, I found it very difficult to piece together who everyone was and what was happening on the screen. Reading the wikipedia article on the revolution afterwards was very insightful.

The editing of the footage is just OK. Some footage is shown multiple times for no apparent reason, the pace drags at parts, and the ending is anti-climactic.

There is a female narration which is thankfully very sparse, because she has nothing intelligent to say. A few times she states the obvious about what the camera man is doing, and the remainder of her lines are pseudo-philosophical gibberish that feels out of place.

I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone unless they have a particular interest in the Romanian Revolution, and even then only as supplementary material. Nowadays, anyone who has seen modern protests on YouTube is likely to have seen more interesting footage.


We didn’t get too much on the news here in San Francisco when this happened in 1989, just some general snippets. We knew in general what had happened, that there was a coup, that Nicolae Ceausescu was executed, etc, but not many people here really knew what happened. There was a lot of confusion, misinformation and general lack of any in depth coverage as to what was really happening at the time. National Public Radio provided the most in depth coverage, but even they didn’t quite get the whole thing when it was actually happening. Mostly likely because of things like media blackouts, competing propaganda, etc. This movie shows far more than anything I ever saw reported here. This has just been released by Facets video and I was able to rent it on DVD via Netflix.

Americans might dismiss this sort of thing as old Soviet era cold war communist events that could only happen then and in those places, and while nothing comes close to this sort of revolution in the West, there are hints of that here, and that is scary. The basic issues of who controls the media are still there in both cases, omnipresent police at demonstrations, tanks in the street, like Los Angeles last year, the ignorance of the elite and refusal to recognize the common peoples problems, lies, counter lies, allegiances and loyalty, the military allegiance to > the people or the president?….Does the recent US military (retired) generals criticism of Donald Rumsfeld ring a bell?

Yep, it’s pretty complicated stuff folks,and this film shows it all.It should be required viewing for all young people everywhere. Why? Because it serves as a reminder of what can happen when too many people become unhappy. It reminds people of how delicate many situations are around the world, even today. How easily a situation can deteriorate unless leaders are mighty careful.

I’m online in some discussion groups with people in Romania and nearby Slovenia and surrounding countries. In many areas, much of this was carried live in the region, but not everything. As the films shows, there were media blackouts. That’s true indeed.

This will take some time, but I believe that the subtitles made for the DVD are not quite complete….We think they can be improved to get a better understanding. I’m working with my Romanian friends who do remember this and do know English to maybe eventually send Facets video a nice time stamped text file. Maybe they can release an updated second edition. After all, it should be the Romanians themselves who see this documentary and help the world better understand what happened via the English text/subtitles or any other language. It’s their history, and by extension, everybody’s history.

also, none of my friends in Romania recognize this video as being widely available there. We’re working on getting them a copy.

Outstanding documentary, I give it a 9.0

Mostly it’s because this documentary shows,like no other I have seen, how a huge number of people can turn, on the edge of a pin

Jeff Webb, San Francisco May 5, 2006

“It Can’t Happen Here” – Frank Zappa 1966