L’Esthétique minimaliste du sublime. Etude de cas: l’Autobiographie de Nicolae Ceauşescu, d’Andrei Ujică

Alexandru MATEI


The aesthetics of the sublime becomes, by the end of the XVIIIth century, a challenge for the European humanist philosophical thinking, not to say for modern art’s destiny. The debate turns around a question we could put as „Is there aesthetics possible beyond or beneath form?” In other words, can the artist relegate form under the level of the making-of process comprising material, construction, dimension, position? This is the sort of the question director Andrei Ujică answers in his latest movie, The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceauşescu, 2010. The main achievement of the movie consists in its answer to form versus absence-of-form aesthetics. The raw matter of this movie, the „scenes”, are entirely historical, and they are embedded within a fictional architecture, whereas in a common historical movie there is a fictional-embodied narrative which strives to “represent” a so to say „real” event. The main character, Ceauşescu, is in a way sent back „to himself”, as he is displayed through a series of footage apt to create a narrative ego detached from his social myth which has deprived him of any sign of humanity. The sublime lies in this tension between a character playing his public – huge but evil – and his private – petty but so-human – roles, as made visible through a subtle and painstaking manipulation of television and film archives.

Keywords: (New) Romanian cinema, sublime aesthetics, Andrei Ujică, Nicolae Ceauşescu