Cinema as Redemption: ‘Chuck Norris vs Communism’ at EIFF

24 - 25/06/2015 @ Odeon Cinema, Edinburgh

Edinburgh International Film Festival, the world's oldest continually running film festival, features the European premiere of ‘Chuck Norris vs Communism’, a documentary about the redemptive power of film in times of political and social distress. With the support of the Romanian Cultural Institute, the event is attended by director Ilinca Călugăreanu together with translator and film critic Irina Nistor, whose voice, which dubbed innumerable foreign films during the harsh Romanian eighties, became a herald of emancipation.

 

In 1980s Communist Romania, subversion of the government’s ideological censorship was quietly underway via the black-market import of thousands of Hollywood films. An underground VHS smuggling operation was secretly giving ordinary people a glimpse into life beyond the Iron Curtain: a world of fearless action stars Chuck Norris and Jean-Claude Van Damme. Responsible for this videotheque resistance were a wealthy opportunistic hustler and an intrepid female translator, determined to bring the power of cinema to the people. (Edinburgh International Film Festival)

Director: Ilinca Călugareanu

Cast: Irina Margareta Nistor, Ana Maria Moldovan, Dan Chlorean, Valentin Oncu
Producers: Mara Adina, Brett Ratner
Scriptwriter: Ilinca Călugăreanu

 

'A warmhearted glimpse into an improbable realm of resistance.' - Screen International
'A winning debut doc celebrating Hollywood's cultural impact.' - Hollywood Reporter
'Stylish, breezily entertaining documentary...' - Variety

 

Ilinca Călugăreanu is a London-based Romanian documentary filmmaker. She studied at Manchester’s Granada Centre for Visual Anthropology. Her short films have been screened in festivals around the world. Călugăreanu’s credits include 'The Writing on the Wall' (2006, Romania) and 'Endgames' (2008, UK), distributed by the Royal Anthropological Institute. She has also been working as an editor for fiction and documentary shorts and features for the past 5 years. She has a background in anthropology with a focus on communist and post-communist Romania, which gives her a unique perspective on the story of the VHS phenomenon. In 2012 she founded Vernon Films, a UK film and documentary production company, with her sister Mara Adina.
 

Irina Nistor worked as a translator of TV programmes in Romania under the communist regime, and is known for secretly dubbing over 3,000 banned film titles on VHS tapes smuggled in from the West. During the time of the Cold War, these tapes quickly spread throughout the country, and her voice became widely known. In a recent New York Times video about Nistor, one of the interviewees observes: 'We did start to wonder why all the films were dubbed by the same voice… (Nistor’s) is the most well known voice in Romania after Ceausescu's...' Irina Nistor worked for The Romanian Television from 1980 until 1999, first as a film translator, then as a producer. She remains active within the Romanian film industry. In 2012, she launched the Psychoanalytic Film Festival, which was the Romanian extension of the European Psychoanalytic Film Festival presided by Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci.


Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) presents and promotes both UK and international films and engages local and international audiences with a dynamic programme of features, documentaries, shorts and experimental cinema. The 69th edition is scheduled between 17–28 June 2015.


When: 24 & 25 June 2015
Where: Odeon Cinema, Edinburgh
Tickets: here.

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