Cum mi-am petrecut sfarsitul lumii (The Way I Spent the End of the World)  (2006)




Director:     Catalin Mitulescu. 

Starring:     Doroteea Petre (Eva Matei), Timotei Duma (Lalalilu Matei).

Eva desperately wants to get out of Romania; to keep his sister home her young brother decides to kill dictator Ceausescu


Spoiler Warning:  below is a summary of the entire movie. 

At a school there is a military band present. A soldiers picks out one seven-year old male student, Lalalilu, to wear a medal around his neck. The band starts playing. President of Romania Ceausescu comes in with two soldiers carrying a huge wheel of cheese. The soldiers give the cheese to the young boy.

But Ceausescu suddenly objects. The boy still has his baby teeth. "This is no good!" He tries to take the cheese wheel from Lalalilu, but the boy fights him for possession. The school children all start to laugh.

At home Lalalilu tries to remove a tooth from his mouth by tying one end of a string to the door and the other end to his tooth. He is unsuccessful in this endeavor. In the morning he doesnít want to go to school, but his sister Eva says his teeth are no reason not to go to school. The boy asks his mother if everyone in Romania has baby teeth? Yes. Ceausescu too? Eva tells Lalalilu that their mother is tired and to leave her be. Mother tells her son not to talk about God or Ceausescu again. His sister distracts the boy with cherry jam on bread and snaps the tooth out by pulling the string still tied to the tooth. Lalalilu calls her a criminal.

Lalaliu and two of his friends head for school. The other boy says that their friend Alex isnít coming today because his dad arrested him. And watch out because his dad may arrest them too. Lalalilu laughs.

The boys shout the copís son is coming! Alex stops by Eva to tell her heís sorry heís late. In school Alex comes into Evaís classroom to say to the teacher that the headmaster wants to see Eva Matei. Eva goes with Alex. She thinks sheís going to the headmaster, but Alex tells her they have ten minutes. In a secluded area he kisses her. Eva pulls away. Alex starts shadow boxing with and kicking at a bust of Ceausescu. He asks Eva if she will "do it" with him and she says yes. This makes him excited and on his next kick he knocks the bust of Ceausescu down and it breaks. Eva asks Alex if he wants to go to jail? They run away from the scene of the "crime". A school person sees the two students running away from the area.

At home dad entertains Eva and Lalalilu by impersonating Ceausescu. The youngsters ask him what they will give him if they let him in and dad says another television program about Ceausescu. Then the lights go out and dad says: "The bastards!"

Eva is called on the carpet in front of the students and a group of teachers. She says nothing for five minutes. So the student judge says that they recommend that comrade Eva be excluded from this high schoolís Communist Youth Union. They go on to the class vote and everyone, including Alex, raises their hands in agreement. Eva glances at Alex and sees him with his hand raised.

Eva with her mother go into the principalís office. Alexís father tells Evaís mother that her daughter is becoming unruly and to keep Eva away from his son. Inside the office, the principal and another man say that the bust is not that important. What they are concerned about is her attitude. They say Alexís reaction was much different than hers. Her mother tries to get her to sign a document the principal has, but Eva refuses and leaves.

Alex has a row with his father. He tells him that father promised that Eva would be safe! His father hits him and Alex calls him a "damn cop!"

Lalalilu gets sick and they have to take him to see a doctor. The next day Lalalilu is in a hospital bed. His sister visits him and gives him some medicine.

Andrei comes to the neighborhood. One of Lalalilluís friends that his father tried to overthrow Ceausescu. At reform school Andrei and the other students listen to a man tell them that no one flunks this last term. If they do they are sent to work or they can go to prison if that is their wish. They must learn to appreciate the stateís efforts. They have some new students. One of them is Eva. The speaker hopes that the new students will mend their ways here. The new students are sent to get in line with the other students. One girl pushes Eva.

Lalalilu and two other boys come to talk with Andrei. One of the boys asks him if his family passed out manifestos against Ceausescu? He tells them to get lost. As they leave he calls Lalalilu back. He gives Lalalilu a record to give to his sister.

Eva is at a birthday party for the grandson of a family. Alex and his dad come to the party. (The others are not too thrilled to see his father.) The grandfather named Titi goes to complain to his daughter-in-law Anca about the cop being invited to the party. Grandfather starts shouting about the matter so everyone can hear. His son Nucu tells the policeman to ignore his father.

Eva comes over to sit across from Alex. Nothing is said between them. Later Evaís mother tells her to dance with Alex. He brought her brother some medicine. Alex, mom says, is still wild about her and even his father is sorry about what happened. Eva doesnít move. So mother asks Eva to do it for her. They canít make enemies with Alex and his father. So Eva dances with him. After awhile, she puts her head on his shoulder.

At school a fellow named Bones asks Eva to be his girlfriend, but Eva says no. Andrei sits with her and shows the proper way to clean springs. Outside the boys try to get Evaís attention.

A fellow picks a fight with Andrei. The male music teacher breaks up the fight. Eva helps Andrei wash the blood off his face.

In music class the teacher is told that the new girl Eva can sing. He brings her up and she sings well, but doesnít sing the right kind of music for the upcoming festival.

At an awards ceremony Eva plays the guitar and sings with the musical group. She is given an honorable mention for her work in school. Andrei and Eva start spending a lot of time together. Eva is planning to get out of Romania via Yugoslavia.

The police arrive early in the morning to arrest grandfather Tilti. They also caught Nucu who was crossing the Danube River. Evaís mother says may God have mercy on him!

Mother has dad speak to Eva. He tells her to stay away from Andrei because his family has problems. They want her to go back to Alex because Alexís family helps them. So Eva casually says alright.

Eva brings some pastries to Andrei. He is completely naked. He tells her they need to have a talk. She starts leaving and he tells her if she doesnít talk with him their whole plan is off. He puts her through a test. She asks him if she should undress? He says he doesnít mind. So she gets undressed.

The locals keep picking on Andrei. He tests himself by sitting in a bathtub filled with water and ice. He canít take it and jumps out. So Eva shows him that she can do it. Then she has him get in with her and keep less cold by hugging.

At night Alex looks at Eva from her window. She looks at him. No one says anything. Then Alex leaves. In the morning her father asks where is Alex? She doesnít know. Alexís dad canít find his son. Dad talks with the policeman, who tells dad to watch his daughter. So dad tells Eva that she cannot go out without his permission. She objects and he slaps her face. Lalalilu rushes in to say that they found Alex sleeping in the forest.

The police arrive at Andreiís house. He rushes over to Evaís window and tells her he has to leave now. Tomorrow will be too late for him. He doesnít want her to come with him. But Eva does go with him. They jump into an empty train boxcar.

Lalalilu is sad that Eva has left. He tells his mother he wants to die. (He even takes the insulation of the end of an electric cord to electrocute himself.) Mother tells him that all girls run away some day. She asks her son if he knows where Eva went? He just walks away from her.

Eva and Andrei reach the border at the Danube. They start swimming across the river. Half way across Eva turns back.

Lalalilu tries to drown himself but is pulled out of the water by a mentally challenged adult who is a friend of the boyís. Eva is home. Mother is not talking to her daughter, so Lalalilu has to arrange for them to speak with each other. They do so, but mom is still mad. She tells Eva that Alex is deteriorating. He was expelled from school. Heís at Evaís school now. Mom says she and Alex are ruining their lives.

At school a woman shows up in Lalaliluís classroom. She is going to pick a choir that will sing for comrade Nicolae Ceausescu. Lalalilu tells his friends that he has a plan. After school he tells his two friends that they are going to kill Ceausescu. The other boys agree to it and talk about how they are going to kill the President.

Probably to avoid Alex, Eva starts working making whistles for Florica, the grandfather of one of Lalaliluís friends. Florica says he wants to help Eva. He asks her if she is interested in sales? Yes. Lalalilu and his friends burst into the room to say that they are going to sing for Ceausescu. Eva takes the boys home.

In the school while the chosen children sing the national anthem, Lalalilu and his friends start rough housing. They all get sent out of the room. The boys go to see Florica and ask him to help them write a patriotic poem. He says he will.

Lalalilu recites his poem to conductor of the choir and she tells him he will read it to Ceausescu, Eva gets a package from Andrei. It is a pair of blue jeans and some photos of him in his new country.

Eva goes to see Alex who is playing soccer. He immediately stops and speaks to her. He takes her to his new apartment, which is still empty. He says he had to move because they are tearing down their old home, but Eva says she heard differently. Alex just says that his father told him it was true.

At night he asks her if she will come to his place and she says yes. They go to his room. He kisses her neck and unbuttons her blouse. She finishes the job and takes her shirt off too. They have sex. She gets dressed, tells Alex it is late and she is going home. Before she goes out the gate, he hugs her and she hugs him.

At home mother asks her whatís wrong? Eva says sheís getting married. Lalalilu interrupts the conversation and wants to hear more about her getting married. Later he tells Eva that she is not going to marry. She says she is. He says he wonít let her. Eva laughs.

At work Eva watches the television with the others. Ceausescu is giving another speech. Then something happens and everyone starts reacting to it. Dad and Lalilu come home and dad hugs and kisses his wife. He says they are free at last!

Everybody starts screaming "Down with Ceausescu!" Alexís father tries to get away from the crowd around his place. Alex helps him. They burn Alexís dadís car. Florica lights up his own car and the crowd sings: "Ceausescuís on the run!"

The police fire on the protesting crowds. It starts snowing. On the television the protestors say they have won! Later Eva sees on television the burial of Ceausescu and his wife.

Spring. Mom comes home as Lalalilu goes out. He sees Florica and plays with his friends. He has a letter to be mailed to his sister.

Eva is on a luxury liner and reads the letter from her brother.


Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.



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