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The most internationally well-known of Ion Grigorescu's 8-mm films, Dialogue with Ceaușescu, is a fictive discussion with the dictator, offering a reproach in which Grigorescu reflects on forced labor, the value of oppressed farm workers, the pomposity and blindness of authority—all of which he characterizes as a result of Ceaușescu's belief in economic progress and his addiction to reorganization. Grigorescu puts words in the dictator's mouth, collaged quotes from the modernist vocabulary of progress used by the propaganda machine of the official media. Like the writing on the wall, a scrolling text with questions and answers, speech and rebuttal, moves across a split screen featuring the two protagonists of this discussion (it is Grigorescu himself who mimes in front of the glass-eyed despot, wearing a paper mask on his face), occasionally framing the figures in compositions that evoke biblical images—they become Belshazzar and Daniel. In this rendering, as in reality, Ceaușescu holds tight to the monopoly of power inwardly and outwardly.

G.S.

  • Artist: Ion Grigorescu
  • Original Title: Dialog cu Presedintele Ceausescu
  • English Title: Dialogue with Ceausescu
  • Year: 1978
  • Material: 8 mm film transferred to 16mm, b&w, no sound
  • Dimensions: Duration: 10min, 3sec
  • Inventory no.: K419
  • Category: film
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