Framing the Change: A Retrospective of Contemporary Romanian Documentary Film

26/04 - 31/07/2021 @ online | Website, Facebook page and YouTube channel

Following the acclaimed international success of recent Romanian documentaries, RCI London is launching Framing the Change - A retrospective of contemporary Romanian documentary film. The formidable and thoughtful selection of films is a premiere for Great Britain and hopefully, an enlightening, inspiring and entertaining experience for an international audience, festival zealots, cinephiles and everyone interested in Romanian documentaries.

The retrospective is a direct window into the Romanian universe of the past two decades, capturing the extraordinary societal forces which are shaping the country. Some of the themes are recurring in modern day society: the compatibility between religious and secular viewpoints, children who are growing up alone, while their parents have emigrated in the West or concepts on home schooling and education. Another strand is represented by films on topics connected to communism and the different ways in which the regime impacted day to day life. The programme also includes films that are personal introspectives into the directors’ life or that discover the history of a community, as well as films that define their authors’ work. The selection also reflects the variety of styles and approaches in Romanian documentary films.

Taking place from 26 April to 31 July 2021, Framing the Change is the result of an outstanding Romanian-British tandem: Astra Film Festival and One World Romania, two of the oldest and most popular Romanian festivals and Sheffield Doc Fest and Open City Documentary Festival, two of the largest and well-known British festivals have joined forces at the RCI’s initiative.

The retrospective will be opened by a panel discussion with Adina Marin (Astra Film Festival programmer), Andrei Rus (artistic director One World Romania), Cíntia Gil (director Sheffield Doc Fest) and Michael Stewart (director Open City Docs), moderated by Jonathan Romney (writer @ Film Comment Magazine, Sight & Sound Magazine, Observer New Review, Screen Daily).

The second part of the retrospective opens with a revealing focus on Golden Bear-winning director Radu Jude’s documentary work and continues with films by Corneliu Porumboiu, Andrei Ujică, Vanina Vignal, Laurențiu Calciu, Laura Căpățână-Juller, Mara Trifu, Adina Pintilie, Cristina Haneș, Dragoș Hanciu and Bahoi.

 

Programme:

Second half - selection made by Andrei Rus (One World Romania - International Human Rights & Documentary Film Festival)

Sun 11 July, 19.00 | RCI London’s Facebook page | free | available only in the UK for 72 hours

The Dead Nation / Țara moartă, directed by Radu Jude
A troubled period of Romanian history is brilliantly brought back to life through archive photographs. In Radu Jude’s haunting account of life in provincial Romania in the years leading up to the Second World War, the faces of the people who lived in those times stare at you with startling immediacy: some are smiling, some stern, some obscured by a fascist salute. The Dead Nation is compiled from still images selected from a collection of glass plate photographs taken by a commercial photographer in rural Romania. It’s a rich evocation of the life of a community on the brink of war, underscored by a soundtrack featuring propaganda speeches and extracts from the diary of a Jewish doctor, alert to the coming catastrophe. This is a work of stark power and commanding assurance – a vivid portrait of divided times that speaks to the uncertainties of our own age. (Edward Lawrenson)
2017 | 83 min | Cert. 12

Mon 12 July, 19.00 | RCI London’s Facebook page | free | available only in the UK for 72 hours

The Exit of the Trains / Ieșirea trenurilor din gară, directed by Radu Jude and Adrian Cioflâncă
On June 29, 1941, the Jewish residents of the city of Iasi were rounded up and beaten, shops and homes were looted, and most of the men were shot or crowded onto trains, where they later died of asphyxiation. While Germans took part in the pogrom, the majority of the perpetrators were Romanian policemen, military officers, and civilians. How can a film deal with this crime? Radu Jude and Adrian Cioflâncă have opted for a radical, pared-down approach: their film lists the names of those who died from A to Z, illustrating them with photographs from passports and family albums. Astoundingly sober accounts are heard in voiceover. Through repetition, accumulation, and variation, the filmmakers make the scale of the atrocity tangible, allow nuances to emerge, and give the number of victims – 13,000 – concrete form, until, in the end, after about two-and-a-half hours, they draw on an entirely different visual register.
2020 | 174 min | Cert. 12

Tue 13 July, 19.00 | RCI London’s Facebook page | free | available only in the UK for 72 hours

The Marshal's Two Executions / Cele două execuții ale mareșalului, directed by Radu Jude
The film confronts two different views of the execution of General Ion Antonescu, Romania’s leader during the Second World War. On one side is silent black-and-white forage of the execution as recorded in 1946 by cameraman Ovidiu Gologan, on the other are scenes from a biographical film shot in 1994 by director Sergiu Nicolaescu.
2018 | 10 min | Cert. 12

Tue 13 July, 19.15 | RCI London’s Facebook page | free | available only in the UK for 72 hours

Uppercase Print / Tipografic majuscul, directed by Radu Jude

The film depicts the story of Mugur Călinescu, a Romanian teenager who wrote graffiti messages of protest against the regime of dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu and was subsequently apprehended, interrogated, and ultimately crushed by the secret police.
2020 | 128 min | Cert. 12A

Wed 14 July, 19.00 | RCI London’s Facebook page | free | available only in the UK for 72 hours

The Second Game / Al doilea joc, directed by Corneliu Porumboiu

The film integrally depicts the Dinamo — Steaua football derby played on 3 December 1988; the game is commented on by Porumboiu and his father, Adrian, the referee of that match.
2014 | 97 min | Cert. 12

Fri 16 July, 19.00 | RCI London’s Facebook page | free | available only in the UK for 24 hours

The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceaușescu / Autobiografia lui Nicolae Ceaușescu, directed by Andrei Ujică

The film explores the image of the Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu using unknown official footage from the Romanian National Television and National Film Archives. Andrei Ujica's epic documentary about the rise and fall of the notorious Romanian dictator is composed entirely of propaganda footage shot during Ceausescu's reign, capturing the inner life of a tyrant through the idealized external image he presented to his country, and to the world.
2010 | 187 min | Cert. 12

Mon 19 July, 19.00 | RCI London’s Facebook page | free | available only in the UK for 72 hours

AFTER THE SILENCE what remains unsaid does not exist? DUPĂ TĂCERE ceea ce nu e rostit nu există?, directed by Vanina Vignal

Twenty years ago, the filmmaker struck up a friendship with Ioana in Romania, and she returns to ask her about family silences. The two women analyse the perpetuation of denial.
2012 | 96 min | Cert. 

Wed 21 July, 19.00 | RCI London’s Facebook page | free | available only in the UK for 72 hours

After the Revolution / După revoluție, directed by Laurențiu Calciu

After the Revolution is an observational documentary exploring the street protests that took place in Bucharest in early 1990, immediately following the 1989 Revolution, capturing a moment of post-revolution anarchy in which people spoke without inhibition.
2010 | 90 min | Cert. 

Fri 23 July, 19.00 | RCI London’s Facebook page | free | available only in the UK for 72 hours

Here... I Mean There / Aici... adică acolo, directed by Laura Căpățână-Juller

A bittersweet coming-of-age story and a brief and intimate portrait of a family split up by circumstances that leave little room for a brighter future. Ani and Sanda are two girls left with their grandparents because their parents had gone to work in Spain.
2012 | 76 min | Cert.

Focus Aristoteles Workshop: 25-26 July 2021

Sun 25 July, 19.00 | RCI London’s Facebook page | free | available only in the UK for 7 days

The Japanese Quince Tree / Gutuiul japonez, directed by Mara Trifu

Madame Grosu knows how to observe the deepest meanings in the smallest things like a great oriental philosopher. Nowadays 90 year-old Clotilda Grosu lives with her many cats in her old mansion. With her stories, she moves from the present to events years before getting the most out of her extraordinary joie de vivre.
2012 | 21 min | Cert.

Sun 25 July, 19.30 | RCI London’s Facebook page | free | available only in the UK for 7 days

Don't Get Me Wrong / Nu te supăra, dar..., directed by Adina Pintilie

In an institution for the mentally impaired in Romania, the film follows the everyday existence of its residents and penetrates a hermetic world where the social conventions escape common reasoning.
2007 | 50 min | Cert.

Mon 26 July, 19.00 | RCI London’s Facebook page | free | available only in the UK for 14 days

Antonio and Catarina / António e Catarina, directed by Cristina Haneș

A 70-year-old man and a 25-year-old woman share a candid and twisted relationship with a deadline. Trapped in one room, Antonio and Catarina are negotiating the terms of their relationship.
2017 | 40 min | Cert. 15

Mon 26 July, 20.00 | RCI London’s Facebook page | free | available only in the UK for 14 days

Ionaș Dreams of Rain / Ionaș visează că plouă, directed by Dragoș Hanciu

Ionaș is an old Romanian countryman who spends his summer nights guarding his cornfield against the starving boars that come to eat his crops, a year-long work. His battle is not to fall asleep, as he cannot be aware of anything, except his dreams. The old man believes that the recurrent dream of his dead father brings the rain, which almost every time comes along with the boars – the menace that he cannot see, but only hear.
2017 | 28 min | Cert. 12


Wed 28 July, 19.00 | RCI London’s Facebook page | free | available only in the UK for 72 hours

Selection of short videos made by Bahoi, one of the first Romanian vloggers

Bahoi is known for his internet amateur-made-films that tackle everyday life in a brave and humorous manner. He was one of the first vloggers in Romania, filming, with his personal phone, his friends, family members and neighbours from a small and quite poor village near Constanța, very close to the seaside. Since around 2010, he has made hundreds of clips depicting mundane situations from his community. The nine films in the programme show a world that we are familiar with from many recent documentaries and features, but they have a unique quality coming from the fact that they are made from the inside, by a person who the protagonists trust and in front of whom they feel free to express themselves without caring about prejudices and without fearing harsh judgments. Although they are available for free, on YouTube, and some of them have millions of views in Romania, this will be the first time Bahoi’s films are shown abroad, with subtitles, to an international audience. (Andrei Rus)
2010-2021 | 60 min | Cert. 15


Fri 30 July, 19.00 | RCI London, 1 Belgrave Square, SW1X 8PH | free | Please book your seat in advance.

Touch Me Not, directed by Adina Pintilie

Touch Me Not follows the emotional journeys of Laura, Tómas and Christian, offering a deeply empathic insight into their lives. The film looks at how we can find intimacy in the most unexpected ways, at how to overcome sexual taboos in order to love another.
2017 | 125 min | Cert. 18

 

Special event:
Thu 29 July, 19.00 | RCI London Facebook page, YouTube channel & website | free

Panel discussion with Radu Jude, Adina Pintilie, Vanina Vignal and Bahoi, moderated by Andrei Rus.

 

First half - selection made by Adina Marin (Astra Film Festival)

26 April, 19.00 | RCI London’s Facebook page, YouTube channel & website | free
Discussion on the last two decades of the Romanian documentary: Adina Marin, Andrei Rus, Cíntia Gil, Michael Stewart and Jonathan Romney. Introduction by Magda Stroe, acting director RCI London.
Click here to watch the discussion.

28 April, 19.00 | RCI London’s Facebook page, YouTube channel & website | free
Screening On the Road / La drum, directed by Dumitru Budrala
On the Road is the first observational Romanian documentary which tells the story of the shepherds from the Carpathian mountains going every winter, kilometres away from home, in transhumance.

Click here to watch the film (available until 31 July 2021).

29 April, 19.00 | Barbican Cinema On Demand | £5 | available only in the UK until 30 April
Screening Acasa, My Home / Acasă, directed by Radu Ciorniciuc
After 25 years of living in the marsh of the Bucharest Delta, one family is forced to move to the city in Bucharest, where a whole new world awaits. The film will be screened as part of the Chronic Youth Festival at Barbican Centre (1-30 April).

4 May, 19.00 | RCI London’s Facebook page, YouTube channel & website | free | available until 31 July
Screening Home Alone - A Romanian Tragedy, directed by Ionut Carpatorea
The story of over 350,000 Romanian children, left "alone at home" whilst one or both parents went to work in Italy, Spain or other Western countries. The observational style is combined with interviews whose protagonists are the children's parents.
Click here to watch the film (available until 31 July 2021).

5 May, 19.00 | RCI London’s Facebook page | free | available for 5 days (until 10 May, 19.00)
Screening My Beautiful Dacia / Dacia, dragostea mea, directed by Julio Soto & Ștefan Constantinescu
An extravagant and humoristic odyssey from Communism to Capitalism as seen from the perspective of one of Romania's most charismatic symbols, the Dacia automobile. The film follows several Romanians - from rich to poor, from old to young - whose lives are interconnected by this humble car, thus showing the present transformation of Romanian society from past to present. Can this car be the answer to Romania's social changes?
Click here to watch the film (available until 10 May 2021).

 

7 May, 19.00 | RCI London’s Facebook page, YouTube channel & website | free | available until 31 July
Screening Children of the Decree/ Născuți la comandă. Decrețeii, directed by Florin Iepan
The documentary presents the story of the decree no. 770 for the regulation of the termination of pregnancy, from 1966, transformed into law. Director’s statement: “Two million Romanians were born because of this decree, including me, you and so many others(…). Ultimately, it's about the birth of my generation."

13 May, 19.00 | RCI London’s Facebook page | free | available only in the UK until 13 June
Screening Tarzan’s Testicles / Ouăle lui Tarzan, directed by Alexandru Solomon
A film about utopias and a metaphoric drama that threads the similar destinies of monkeys and men. The documentary is a scientific utopia based on the creation of a hybrid between man and monkey, an experiment tried in Abkhazia in 1927.

20 May, 19.00 | RCI London’s Facebook page, YouTube channel & website | free | available until 31 July:
Screening The Curse of the Hedgehog / Blestemul ariciului, directed by Dumitru Budrala
One of the most valuable Romanian documentaries, it explores the daily reality of a poor Roma family, penetrating the life and mentality of these people beyond the superficial image projected by the press. The film captures the harsh reality of the pilgrimage from one village to another, in the struggle for survival.

26 May, 19.00 | RCI London’s Facebook page | free | available only in the UK until 31 July
Screening Aliyah DaDa, directed by Oana Giurgiu
The title of the film has two meanings: Aliya represents the emigration of Jews to Israel, and DaDa refers to Dadaism, an artistic current that emerged after the First World War.

28 May, 19.00 | RCI London’s Facebook page | free | available only in the UK for 48h
Screening Trading Germans / Pașaport de Germania, directed by Răzvan Georgescu
The film tells the story of the largest human trade in twentieth-century Europe: the organized, systematic sale of a large part of the German population from Romania to the Federal Republic of Germany. A focus on the personal (hi)stories of those directly affected by this transfer.

5 June, 19.00 | RCI London’s Facebook page | free | available only in the UK for 48h
Screening I made you, I kill you / Eu te-am făcut, eu te omor, directed by Alexandru Petru Bădeliță
A personal confession of a traumatic childhood, dominated by domestic violence, a common recurrence in certain levels of Romanian society. Through several voice-over stories and the interpretation of memories through cartoons and family pictures, the film combines a narrative that emphasizes that in this realm domestic violence as a standard rather than an anomaly.

5 June, 19.15 | RCI London’s Facebook page | free | available only in the UK for 48h
Screening Teach’ / Profu’, directed by Alex Brendea
The film depicts the story of Dorin Ioniță, a maths teacher from Bistrița (northern Transylvania), who left the system 10 years ago and arranged a class for private lessons in his own house. He has taught for more than 20 years in public schools and transformed his own apartment into a classroom, equipped with chairs, benches and even a blackboard.

9 June, 19.00 | RCI London’s Facebook page | free | available only in the UK until 31 July
Screening Teodora the Sinner / Păcătoasa Teodora, directed by Anca Hirte
Filmed in 2010 at the Văratec Monastery (north-east Romania), the film narrates the story of a 24-year-old woman in the ritual of becoming a nun and the monastic atmosphere is revealed to the viewer as seen through her eyes. Her decision to break away from the world must be ultimately understood as a love story.

12 June, 19.00 | RCI London’s Facebook page | free | available only in the UK for 48h
Screening Holy Father / Tatăl nostru, directed by Andrei Dăscălescu
The filmmaker (Andrei) and his girlfriend (Paula) face the news of becoming parents. While the future mother is struggling with no worthy role models in her broken family, the soon-to-be father must come to terms with his own, long-lost father, now a monk on Mount Athos. Andrei’s visits to the monastery seek to solve the mystery of his father’s leaving the family when Andrei was only six.


All films have English subtitles.

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