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Romania’s gallows humour

Twenty years on from the fall of Ceausescu, Romanian filmmakers are finally learning how to make people laugh about their country’s dark past

By Brian Semple   January 2010

On Christmas day 1989, people across the world turned on their televisions to see Nicolae Ceausescu, president of Romania’s brutal communist government, shot dead with his wife by a firing squad from his own army. Ceausescu had been in power for 24 years, but his regime unraveled in just four days: protests and rioting on 21st December forced him to flee Bucharest in a helicopter, before he was arrested by the Romanian army, sentenced to death by a military court for crimes ranging from genocide to corruption, and promptly shot.

Their execution was one of the most shocking and memorable…

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