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Petrila Planet (2016)

Planeta Petrila (2016)

86 min. - Documentary - GA - 23.06.2017

Synopsis: For three years in a row, the author has been studying two worlds: that of Ion Barbu, an ancient miner, now an artist and activist and that of miner - team leader Catalin Cenusa. Both are fighting the system: the artist in order to save from demolition the mine’s hystorical buildings he sees transformed into cultural centers and the miner to see his brigade transferred to an active mine.

Director: Andrei Dăscălescu

Writer: Andrei Dăscălescu

Stars: Ion Barbu, Cătălin Cenușă

Photo Gallery:

  • Petrila Planet (2016)
  • Petrila Planet (2016)
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Petrila Planet (2016) Ion Barbu
Petrila Planet (2016) Cătălin Cenușă
Browse the entire cast and crew

Produced By

Film Lab România in co-production with HBO Europe with the support of the National Film Centreand of the Romanian Cultural Institute.

Production info

Developed with the support of Ex Oriente Film 2015, workshop organized by the Institute of Documentary Film, Czech Republic.


Transilvania Film

Festivals, Awards

  1. 2017 - Transilvania Film - Cinepub Audience Award
    2017 - Pelicam - Best Documentary Black Sea Docs
    2017 - UrbanEye - Special Prize


  • “PETRILA, a world resembling no other imaginable settlement; it doesn’t resemble anything or anyone, regardless of where they come from…” The quote from I.D.Sîrbulays written on a wall at the main city entrance.
  • Worldwide premiere at IDFA 2016 as part of the First Appearance Competition programme.
  • Preview at Petrila on June 4.
  • Part of Pelicam 2017’s lineup and included in the Black Sea Docs programme.
  • The film premiered on HBO and HBO Go on June 22, 2017. 
Andrei Dăscălescu about the film:
Planeta Petrila was born in 2013. Since then, I’ve documented Petrila, the struggle in saving the historical buildings of the Petrila Mine from demolition, cultural events and the last breaths of the Petrila Mine. I’ve created an impressive collection of photos, some of which are documents.”
“I fell in love with Petrila and I instinctively began filming it ever since my first visit there in May 2013. It’s a town of contrasts: decrepit, ashy, offering no prospects, but hosting more and more artistic occupied spaces. I identified with both struggles of the main characters. I, too, became an activist, I borrowed some of the artist’s creativity, I’ve gone underground – as well as for drinks – with the miners. I tried to carry out my process of documenting with humour and make a film that pleases, that speaks on an emotional level, that can inspire us into stop passively witnessing acts of injustice and that will, instead, encourage us to fight for the things we believe in.”
“I had previously met the artist Ion Barbu and I had heard about his praxis of «art activism», but there was no way in which the stories I had heard or my imagination could have prepared me for the fascination that caught a hold on me the first time I visited the mining town Petrila in May 2013. The general atmosphere is ash-grey, sinister, bizarre and ghostlike; the decaying towers of the mine dominate the town. However, if you take a closer look, you start noticing «islets» of colour: garage doors used as canvases for life-size paintings, funny traffic signs, a crosswalk mimicking a piano keyboard, comic books inspired wall paintings everywhere… even one of the buildings that’s part of the mining complex was turned into a colorfully painted cultural space. The contrast is striking.”

Petrila Planet (2016) - Photo