Tudor Giurgiu in production with Libertate, a film about the Romanian Revolution
- The movie explores a lesser-known episode from the events that brought about the end of communism
For a country whose history changed so drastically in 1989, when the Revolution made dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu try to flee abroad, Romania is surprisingly shy in exploring through cinema the violent events that turned an entire nation against the regime that had been in power for more than four decades. Only a handful of films go deep into the occurrences of that December, with Radu Muntean’s The Paper Will Be Blue and Corneliu Porumboiu’s 12:08 East of Bucharest [+see also:
interview: Corneliu Porumboiu
interview: Daniel Burlac
film profile], both released in 2006, still regarded as the go-to classics. Things may change now, though, with Tudor Giurgiu’s new feature Libertate [+see also:
interview: Tudor Giurgiu & Cecilia Ste…
film profile] (provisional title Sibiu ’89), which is in production until mid-March in provincial Romania.
The screenplay, written by Cecilia Ştefănescu, Giurgiu and Napoleon Helmis, is inspired by real events that happened during the Revolution. Libertate reenacts a lesser-known story about those days of violent civil unrest that led to a bloody confrontation between the army forces and Ceauşescu’s instruments of repression, the Militia and the Secret Police. Following rumours and disinformation about so-called “terrorists” attacking soldiers and civilians, panic and chaos ensue. No one is to be trusted, everyone could be an enemy, and ordinary people will make decisions that will haunt them forever.
The film is being produced by Oana Bujgoi Giurgiu and the director through Libra Films, and co-produced by Jozsef Berger through Mythberg Films (Hungary). The budget amounts to circa €1.7 million, with €170,000 coming from the Romanian National Film Center. The Hungarian National Film Institute has also supported the project. The DoP is Alexandru Sterian, and Alex Calangiu, Cătălin Herlo, Ionuţ Caras, Iulian Postelnicu, Alexandru Papadopol, Ştefan Iancu, Costel Caşcaval and Mirela Oprişor are part of an ensemble cast.
Giurgiu tells Cineuropa that he would never have thought he would direct a film about the Romanian Revolution, but his opinion changed following the film’s extensive research phase, which took several years. “What happened in Sibiu in those times is quite different from what happened in the rest of the country. There was a true shoot-out between the army, the communist police and the Secret Police, and many innocent people died. It was a trauma for entire families and survivors, trauma that is as powerful today as it was back then. Working on this project convinced me that hiding that garbage under the carpet […] still has a gigantic impact on our society, on how we live and, unfortunately, on the younger generations,” the director explains.
Transilvania Film will release Libertate in December, when the anniversary of the Revolution is usually celebrated throughout the country.
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