dir. Ilinca Calugareanu
Don’t let the words “produced by Brett Ratner” scare you, this is an amazing documentary.
This documentary is about the smuggling of VHS tapes of American movies into Communist Romania in the 80s, and it has both talking heads by people living in Romania at the time who were involved somehow in the process of either smuggling the tapes or arranging viewings of the films, and also reenactments of events of the time, specifically how government worker Irina Nistor joined Teodor Zamifir to start dubbing the tapes before making copies for distribution.
The talking heads are fascinating, because they are so joyful and humorous about it all these years later, and they carry the memories of that act of rebellion like a badge of honour, which is great. The reenactments of their stories made them even more immersive, and were greatly effective in telling the story of the documentary. The ’80s movies were also edited into the doc, which looked brilliant, especially with the graphics.
And it’s not all about Chuck Norris, either. There’s Stallone, Schwarznegger, Van Damme, all the greats.
The most interesting part about it, though, was learning more about the history of Romania, which is a country you don’t hear much about. I personally knew nothing about this going in, and came out with a lot of knowledge. Not only was the documentary entertaining and engaging, but also informative.
This is the first feature-length documentary directed by Calugareanu, and I suggest watching out for her, because if this doc is any indication, she’s going to make great things. I one hundred per cent recommend this for anyone who has an interest in history.
review by Mariana Duarte