I am surprised how little known this film is. Although it was made by Dan Pita, one of the well-known Romanian directors, and one of the few who made quality films during the Romanian Communist era, it does not seem to be considered as one of his best films. There is little information about the film on the Internet, and even the IMDB entry tells almost nothing. I saw it by chance on one of the Romanian satellite TV stations, and it was from many points of view a revelation.

source cinemarx.ro

The film is made in 1994, and is set at that time of ‘transition’ a wild process of awakening and confusion the whole Romanian society went through. The Bucharest I knew (having left Romania ten years earlier) was almost gone, streets filled not only with all kinds of dubious street commerce stands, but people also running awoke and fighting to survive in a world of confusion where old rules do not exists any longer and new ones are yet to be written. The trio of young people who are the heroes of the film learn to live and survive in this strange world. They may be the unwanted ‘children of the decree’ which was forbidding abortions in Communist Romania, they may be among the ones who took the streets in 1989 to overturn the dictatorship. Now brothers Pepe (Cristian Iacob – kind of a Romanian version of Brad Pitt) and Fifi (Irina Movila – with beautiful eyes of Tautou intensity) must sustain the family by boxing or becoming a night bird, both getting involved with the underground new Mafia world, both trying to keep their innocence in a world that has forgotten the meaning of the word. The third hero of the triangle is the crippled friend played by Mihai Calin, the fixer for the life of other who cannot fix his own life, the shouter of truth with the megaphone on the streets of the city.

Dan Pita - source www.mediafax.ro

In the Romanian cinema space this film may be lost some place in between the pre-89 and post-89 generation. Truth is that none of the well-known directors of the pre-89 generation – neither Pita, but also not other like Daneliuc or even Pintilie did not succeed to make any great films after 1990. They did however pave the way to the successes of the ‘new wave’ – the minimalist (as some call it) Romanian neo-realism that conquered the festival scenes after 2003. This film has however qualities that stand by themselves. The trio of young actors give emotional performances and make us care about themselves. The reality that is being caught on screen is a snapshot of the 1994 Bucharest the way it was. There is little ballast from the old-style metaphoric and mannerist cinema, but also some strong metaphors that are hard to forget. By the end of the film the two surviving heroes run through a a dark and enclosed labyrinth with no way out in view. Somehow they find the exit, and they run out in the fresh air, just to freeze in disorientation, blinded by the light of a world they do not know how to cope with.