Romanian film review: And the party goes on – Toma Caragiu

Happy New Year! May it bring many good films! To make sure that comes true let’s start gloriously with classic comedy.

Traditional New Year’s TV shows used to flip through their archives and air the same funny numbers over and over again, a tendency which has been slowly going back. Which is no great loss, except for a series of sketches so well-done that they should be aired all the time. Thankfully, some have been celebrating a well-deserved comeback. Famous Romanian actor Toma Caragiu’s performances have been increasingly popular in recent years, especially with the younger generation who have been spreading these immensely quotable episodes all over the internet. Just take a look at the Facebook page dedicated to him and you’ll be impressed. Toma Caragiu became nothing short of “cool“.

Caragiu is one of the most popular Romanian comedic actors, having done both theatre and a series of feature films in the 1960s and 1970s. His fame gained mythical traits by his dramatic death: he was killed in the devastating earthquake of 1977, which destroyed a great deal of Bucharest’s infrastructure and took too many lives, including some of that time’s most prominent artists and intellectuals. Caragiu was even more brilliant on his own; his hilarious monologues on the most simple topics were also insightful and able to trick the typical censorship with amusing subtlety. He also had the supreme comedian’s blessing: a deadpan and sometimes roguish expression that would instantly make the grumpiest person grin from ear to ear.

His films have been issued on DVD and one special edition also collected his sketches. They can be found or ordered in several Romanian bookstores, as well as online at Cărtureşti  or elefant.ro.

Many of his sketches can be found online as well. Unfortunately they are only in Romanian, but hopefully somebody will soon have the brilliant idea to add subtitles and package them in a brand new DVD. If one artist deserves to be better known, that would certainly be lovely Mr Caragiu.

Here’s the particularly funny New Year’s sketch “The party goes on“:

Another classic is the one on tennis:

And, less famous but not less endearing, one on making choices, in fashion and with everything else:

 By Ioana Moldovan, columnist, ioana.moldovan@romania-insider.com