BUCHAREST, Romania – On October 30, 2015, a fire broke out through a nightclub in the Romanian capital Bucharest, killing 64 people. Nearly six years later, a documentary about the fire and its tragic outcome has been nominated for two Oscars.
It would be the first Oscar win for an Eastern European country, but the film’s success is bipartisan for many Romans, given its painful subject matter – especially as many believe that not much has changed since 2015. .
“Collective”, nominated for Best Documentary Feature and Best Foreign Film, follows a group of investigative journalists from a sports newspaper as they uncover painful truths about the Romanian health care system.
The film’s director Alexander Nanu said, “The situation was so horrific that it originally should have been a big scam across Europe.”
The overnight arson and the events immediately following it raged across Romania, at the time overtaking the government – led by the Social Democratic Party – and mobilizing civil society in large-scale protests.
However, in subsequent years, there have been further political scandals, and some health care overhauls. The coronovirus epidemic has placed great new demands on the struggling Romanian health care system. In the last six months, two fires in Kovid-19 wards have killed at least 20 people.
Many Romans wonder how much has really changed since “Collective”.
Tragic, while the nightclub fire is the film’s starting point. 27 people died in the blast, immediately after which 27 people died, but 64 people were killed. Many people in the health care system are suffering from corruption and are ready to hide the painful truth from the victims and their families.
Standing outside one of Bucharest’s main hospitals, Nanu recalled: “It was originally in front of this hospital where the Health Minister always flared up by doctors saying ‘we treat the victims at the highest level’ can do.”
However, as the reporters came to know, the burn unit was not even operational at that time, Nanu said. “It is unbelievable that he has the guts to lie to all these people that his children are being given surgery in the most modern burn unit when in fact it was closed.”
Journalists also discovered that the disinfectant used in hospitals across the country was being watered, to the extent that it was largely ineffective, resulting in many more deaths. The owner of the company involved collided his car with a tree after the truth came to light, leading to his death.
The documentary shows reporters ‘reaction after a whistle-blower in real-time that they send footage from the maggots’ hospital crawling into a burn victim’s wound.
The film has been compared to both “Spotlight” and “All the President’s Men,” and in a New York Times review late last year, Manohala Dargis described “Collective” as a “staggering documentary”, Those “when you don’t” can take an easy breath, assured that the terrible things you’re seeing onscreen are finally over. “
However, what has been shown onscreen for the people of Romania is familiar with the pain.
Catalin Tallonton, then editor in chief of the daily newspaper Gazeta Sporturiller, is one of the main characters of “Collective”. Before the documentary, “We used to get 10 or 15 messages per day from the public with scoops or information,” he said in an interview. “We got 70 to 80 a day after the film.”
Tedy Ursuleanu, who was severely burned on his head and body, and his fingers burned due to the fire, is one of the strongest characters in the film.
In an interview, she said that letting the filmmakers follow her was not a difficult decision, but to see that the film was a painful experience. “When I saw some of the scenes, it felt like I’m living those moments again,” Ursulenu said. “I started crying. I needed to go outside to compose myself. “
Ursulenu stated that he believed that there had not been enough progress in the years since the documentary was filmed. “Changes have happened, but they are less than what we need here,” she said. “Sadly, such a tragedy can easily happen again, because even now the measures are not respected.”
Partway through the documentary, “Collective” introduces Vlad Voilescu, a young, reform-minded health minister who is brought in as part of a short-term technocrat government.
Voiculescu and his team face strong resistance as they try to bring more and more transparency into the health care system, while acknowledging that the system was the culprit in many deaths.
In a recent interview, Vayuskalcu, who was appointed as health minister late last year, said that he was most disappointed that upon his return he found an institution that “already It had collapsed too much. ” Now, Voiculescu is more focused on dealing with coronaviruses than overhauling the Romanian health care system.
“Collective”, which appeared on streaming platforms late last year, is resonating strongly with audiences around the world, especially at a time when the epidemic has made healthcare a central issue globally.
Nanu, a Romanian director who spent a life in Germany before moving back to his home country in 2015, has a track record of producing powerful documentaries. His previous film, “Toto and His Sisters,” followed the lives of three teenagers who were left to mass for themselves in one of the poorest areas of Bucharest, as their mother was charged with drugs. He was sent to jail on charges.
But with “Collective”, he seems to have found a subject that has become an instant hit.
The film’s influence is also felt outside Romania. In Mongolia earlier this year, When a woman with Kovid-19 was transferred from the hospital in cold temperatures just a few days after giving birth, journalists began asking the government’s tough questions, apparently encouraging each other. Facebook Referring to “Collective”, which was shown a few days ago by a local television station. Protests erupted, and the government eventually resigned.
“If you’re a journalist in a small country and have seen the ‘spotlight’, you can say, ‘Well, this is America, they have a lot of resources, they have a strong democracy, their people and the government There is a bond between, “said newspaper editor Tolton.” But if you’re in Mongolia or the Czech Republic, Indonesia, and you’ve seen the film, you think ‘they’re like me. “
Romanian films such as “4 Month, 3 Weeks and 2 Days”, “Beyond the Hills” and “Child’s Pose” have received top awards at international festivals over the years, but none have won Oscars.
Romanian film critic Andrei Gorjo stated that it was difficult for Romanian audiences to see the “collective” as a morally clear story of some of the good people fighting to change the rotten system.
Instead, he said, it captures a specific moment in Romania, when urban, middle-class voters It is believed that Politician, in a new breed of young and infirm, who can clean up Romanian politics. “Without acknowledging that it is impossible for me to watch the film, a lot of that romanticism has gone sour since then,” he said.
Others are more optimistic.
Nanu said, “The generation that will change things here is not a generation 35-plus.” “This is the younger generation, and these are the people who write to us, that we have met in theaters.”
Tolontain said that he saw the “Collective” as “no return” for Romanian society.
Should the film win at the Oscars ceremony next month, many Romanian people still hope that the biggest impact of the film will be at home, and they may leave its contents in the past.