One World Romania 2017: ”The Dead Nation”, by Radu Jude – Work in progress
by Dana Medar
The documentary film festival has a special section dedicated to the work-in-progress projects that the filmmakers present, in order to be followed by discussions with the audience. The Dead Nation / Țara moartă, the project that Radu Jude is working on and which is produced by Ada Solomon, raised the interest of many filmmakers, historians and film lovers. The screening that took place at the Romanian Peasant Museum was attended by Radu Jude, the film critic Andrei Gorzo, the historian Adrian Cioflâncă and the discussion was moderated by Mona Nicoară, a member of the selection board of the One World Romania International Human Rights Documentary Festival. The Dead Nation is a documentary built visually upon Costică Acsinte`s collection of studio photographs from the interwar period and narratively upon the personal diary of the doctor Emil Dorian. Besides recording some historic moments from the personal point of view of a witness, Radu Jude also uses archival audio recordings from that time, found at the National Film Archive. The period of the rise and fall of the legionary power and of Marshal Antonescu, the pogroms and the trains with deported Jews, the atmosphere of terror from before and after the Second World War represent the narrative core.
Radu Jude together with the editor Cătălin Cristuțiu and with Marius Panduru (as the technical adviser in terms of cinematography) visually built a story with the help of the photographs made Costică Acsinte at the Splendid Studio and discovered by Cezar Mario Popescu in the attic of the History Museum in Slobozia. The juxtaposing of the two sources, narrative and visual, is original and it has a strong impact and it opens a discussion about a historic period that very few things are known about and about which people rarely speak of. Following Aferim! and I Scarred Hearts / Inimi cicatrizate, this is the third time that Radu Jude digs deep asking questions about the past of our country.
Cinematography: Valeriu Ciubotaru
Translation: Iulia Necoara