Centrul Astra Film

 

 

Astra Film Festival

Film catalogue

0-9 | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

  • 5 1/2 Roofs

    According to Section 6 of the Criminal Law Act 1977 the occupation of empty property in the UK is not illegal. In London there are more than 13.000 people living in squats. With a poetic and sympathetic eye this film shows 6 episodes of 6 different London based squats and their inhabitants. 6 stories of the struggles and joys of life of the city, which is usually hidden to us. ...

  • A Ferry Tale

    A ferry travel through the Victoria harbor, witness different changes of the city, also witness the last moment of the clock tower. ...

  • A Village Romance

    The village was once settled by a community of lesbians seeking refuge from the city. Only a few families have remained. One of them lives in poverty but in a valuable house. The mistress of the house falls in love with her unfortunate, gypsy neighbor lady, M. Despite the fact that M is heterosexual, alcoholic, beaten regularly by her husband, threatened to have her children taken from her, and scorned by the villagers because of her gypsy descent, she reciprocates her neighbor's affection. "No one's ever loved me for who I am," she says. She can hardly wait for her husband to leave so she can take her three children and move in with the woman she loves. ...

  • After the War

    South-Western Serbia, an isolated area, whose inhabitants are the former "guardians" of the country, defenders of the Serbian orthodoxy. Since abandoned by Belgrade, they are becoming angry – more and more – with everyone. With Albanians who, in their opinion, are responsible for the war, and with Serbs who thoroughly forgot them… A small zone outside the history and, nowadays, even outside the world. ...

  • Babu - Cazul Gheorghe Ursu

    In 1985, Dipl. Engineer Gheorghe Ursu, nicknamed Babu, was arrested by the communist authorities because they had found out about his diary, where Babu put down everything he saw and heard about what was happening in the country in those days. In November 1985, Ursu was beaten to death in his prison cell by his room-mates. One of the aggressors was an informer working for the Militia and the Secret Service, the Securitate. The film combines the interview where the latter gives his version of the story with Babu's voice from an old recording made by one of his friends in Paris in 1978, and with the accounts of another of Babu's friends, a Romanian SF writer living in Paris since 1967. Babu's friends accuse the authorities for delaying this murder case. The story is told by the murderer, the victim and the victim's friend. Only the murderer has survived. ...

  • Balkan Champion

    The 1990s were troubled years in Romania's recent history, a period of confusion and anxiety. The status quo of the communist regime was gone. Before, Ceausescu had been everybody's enemy, and this situation had created a certain solidarity between people. It was rather easy to distinguish between friends and enemies. With the dictator's physical disappearance, people felt free to express all their frustrations. And most often they did it in a violent way. The background was favourable for conflicts of all sorts, including ethnic conflicts. The film reveals this period through first-hand experience. The main character is the author's father, and his involvement in the events that followed the Revolution has provoked crucial changes in the life of his family. As a distinguished member of the Hungarian ethnic minority, he firmly expressed his position against the communist Secret Service (Securitate). In early 1990, it was an act of political suicide, and even put his life in danger. After sixteen years and after running for Parliament for five times, this champion of correctitude and intransigence does not find his place in the new system. ...

  • Bar de zi and Other Stories

    Regular people living in a regular neighbourhood. Through a series of portraits, the film traces the daily history of the Downhill City of Sibiu. Without spectacular plots and without romantic-like subjects, just samples of regular life. Thriving or failing people, who live with or without regrets... A puzzle that shapes up a specific world. ...

  • Behind History

    The film witnesses the daily life and traditions of the Macedonian-Romanian community in Albania. It is a collection of stories about the Romanian school and church in Corcea, and that of the founder of these two institutions, Father Haralambie Balamace, or Papa Lambru, as people remember him, a prominent figure of the community, whose martyring death has inspired a popular song. His tragic destiny mirrors the fate of his people "whose only wish is not to disappear too soon" according to Pandi Bello, a distinguished representative of the Macedonian-Romanian community and a recognized personality of Albanian culture. The documentary evokes Moscopole, the legendary city of the Macedonian-Romanians, and observes the life of the community who has managed to survive in a state that does not recognize them as an ethnic and cultural minority. ...

  • Best of luck to you

    Stanesti Community, bucketeer Rroma population in Harlau (a small town in Romanian Moldavia), tries hard to stay together and keep good old routines... though social cultural national forces lure them, irrepressibly, towards integration. Old Dusan and Istrate Stanescu remember the WWII apocalypse, when they survived the ordeal of the concentration camps. Nightmarish incredible stories haunt their minds. Romanian presidents Gh. Gheorghiu Dej and Nicolae Ceausescu, chimeras of a confuse trade-off of good and evil, of humane and demon, of Gipsy gold hauled in and roaming destinies arrested. Mythical Gipsy King Dobrea is deputized and vivid scenes in the Stanesti Clan's life are firmly evoked in front of the Gypsy community. An arcane shadow weaves unrest and hope threads, in the chiaroscuro of a chamber... the old fortune-teller, the paramount icon of the bucketeers of yore.The mirage of magic driving wheel spurs young Cezar to learn how to read, so he could master the traffic code of rules…The confident world of the Stanesti has music run through its veins, as it happens with all Gypsies... the reason why they sing and dance wishing us "Te aven baxtale!"- (Best of luck to you!) ...

  • Beyond the Forest

    The recent mass migration of the German-Saxon population from Transylvania to Germany has been the cause for personal as well as collective dramas. One of them is the loneliness of those who have chosen to stay, either because they had nobody in Germany to go to, or because they refused to abandon their homes and lands. They feel at home in Transylvania, but how can you feel at home without your own? ...

  • Bghitut

    The documentary is an invitation to a traditional village gathering of women in Romania's Oas county, where brides' hair is braid in a tradtional style for the wedding. ...

  • Black Harvest

    The third film on the renowed trilogy on Papua New Guinea join First Contact and Joe Leahy's Neighbours. Black Harvest charts the progress of Joe in convincing the Ganina tribe people to join him in a coffee growing venture. He provides the money and the expertise; the supply and land and labor. But on the eve of success, the world coffee price collapses and tribal warfare errupts in the valley. Always suspect because of his mixed-race status, Joe is in deep trouble with the tribepeople when his promises of riches fail to materialise. As he organizes to emigrate with his family to Australia, he is a saddened man with an uncertain future. ...

  • Cabal In Kabul

    Dan Alexe's film captures in an unconventional manner, life in Afghanistan after the Talibans. A freelancer journalist, the author lived in Kabul for a long period of time, and learned the Persian language. Among many other stories he heard in all these years, one of them was about the last two jews living in Kabul. The two hate each other, and consequently divided the synagogue betwen the two of them. Isaac Levy sells amulets and casts spells on soldiers and on barren women. Zabulon Simantov produces alcoholic drinks for the black market, and sells the product to Isaac's customers. The two last jews live in constant conflict. The author creates an intimate film, full of humor and humanity. ...

  • Calcutta Calling

    Business Process Outsourcing is the fastest growing industry in the world. In India, over 350,000 people are currently working in call centers. Vikeeh Uppal, or "Ethan Reed," is one of them. He works in a busy calling center selling cell phones and fire extinguishers to customers in America and Great Britain, although he has never been out of Calcutta, Vikhee, alias Ethan, works hard to be a top seller. He gets tutoring in English language, learns pronunciation from commercials and movies, and watches English soccer games to get a better understanding of the people he calls every day. In the meantime, he is determined to keep to Indian values and customs, although he is intensly exposed to Western culture and consumerism. ...

  • Cold Waves

    Cold Waves tells the story of the strange alliance between a nationalist-communist dictatorship and international terrorism. It is a film about the war between Radio Free Europe and the Ceasescu regime who went as far as hiring Carlos de Jackal to annihilate key-people who worked for the Free Europe Radio Station. The film also makes an analysis of the power of media in the modern world. ...

  • Construct

    "Construct" is a visual essay on the dynamicsof the architectural structure designed in 1934 in Bucharest by Marcel Iancu, a member of the Dada movement. ...

  • Divorce Albanian Style

    n 1961, after Albania broke off diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union, Albanian men married to foreign women were forced to separate from their wives. This is a story about love and separation. Through the eyes of a few people who experienced this extraordinary period, the film tells the story of the many thousands of families that were forcibly separated by the totalitarian regime of Enver Hodja, the most long-lived European communist dictator of the 20th century. Thousands of women had to leave the country together with their children. Families were torn apart. Dreams and plans for the future were turned to ashes overnight. Those who stayed in Albania spent years in prison. The film tells the stories of three couples who lived through this ordeal, and of those some officials and officers of the secret police who acted as instruments of these people's persecution. ...

  • Dossers

    An intimately observed portrait of Mick and Martha, two homeless and vagrant alcoholics living on the streets of London and their friends who live in the park opposite Waterloo station. After living with them for 3 months Michael Yorke and his camera crew were given intimate access to the economics, survival strategies, emotions and traumas of a group of people who have been rejected by, and reject, the values of respectable society. This is a harsh and deeply emotional film, that was shocking when it was made, and contained so much bad language that the BBC took over a year to decide whether to transmit it. ...

  • Dust and Ashes

    Every 12 years in India, on the banks of the River Ganges, over 50 million Hindus gather for the greatest pilgrimage in the world - The Maha Kumbh Mela. This film follows the story of three devotees coming from distant corners of the subcontinent - famous holy men and ordinary farmers. This film observes the complex and deep sense of devotion that binds the Hindu religion into one community and one philosophical tradition as 12 million people, on the main day, all rush to take a holy bath in the sacred River Ganges at the symbolic point where it joins the Jamuna River on a special conjunction of astrological forces. The Maha Kumbh Mela pilgrimage is an ancient gathering for all the ascetic wandering monks and holy men of Hinduism - the sadhus. This film explores their social organization and the meaning that they find in their austere and disciplined lifestyle. ...

  • East of Eden

    Economic transition is generally a difficult process for most citizens of ex-socialist countries on their way to liberal capitalism: followed by job cuts, painful dealings with the realities of market economy and getting used to a new lifestyle. The employees of the Celarevo Brewery are a non-typical example of people who have gotten rich in the transition process, having sold their stock to the international company Carlsberg for a total of 53 million euros. Overnight, their lives changed dramatically. ...

  • Electro

    The very first applied documentary that studies the Romanian Electro phenomenon thrills the audience with the author's excitement on his profound documentation that captured on film numerous interviews with the main characters of the Romanian Electro stage (it also includes fans or foreign artists visiting), concert excerpts, live or recorded acts. The style is direct, modern and yet dapper, in perfect accord with the subject. Behind the wrapping, itself Electro - unprecedented in Romania - hides a precise and ample X-Ray of the indigenous Electro phenomenon. ...

  • Eunuchs: India's Third Gender

    Kirian is a homosexual living in India, who wished he had been born a woman. In order to change his gender he joined the traditional Indian sect of the Hijras, or Eunuchs, and had himself castrated. Shardabai is the traditional Empress Eunuch of Rajasthan. She rules over 105 eunuchs in her territory and is considered to be holy and deeply respected by all who meet her as an ascetic who has overcome the dichotomy of being neither male nor female. She has risen above and beyond the oppositions of gender and the traumas that come with this. She is considered both wise and a holy woman - the keeper of a esoteric knowledge and power. In a society where gender roles are strongly polarized, India is one of the few cultures that has traditionally given people who neither men nor women a high status. The Hijras of India were once wealthy and respected by the royal courts as entertainers, dancers and guardians of the royal harems. But today these ancient beliefs and customs are dying. Today, Rehmat Guru, who lives in Mumbai has to live by renting out her fourteen eunuchs as prostitutes in the slums of the city. The film explores an ancient and esoteric tradition with great intimacy. We discover the private motivations that lead many Indians to undergo the traumatic and dangerous complete removal of their genitalia. ...

  • Every Good Marriage Begins with Tears

    Migration is usually analysed from the point of view of immediate material problems. The issue of the immigrants' children is the object of recent discussions. What culture do children of the 1950-1970 immigrants belong to? Do they fit into the Western European culture, or are they still part of the culture of their parents? The film makes a statement about what we call "culture clash" in the contemporary world. ...

  • Face Mania

    Lena Constante, an innocent victim of the struggle over over power within the Romanian Communist Party, was arrested in January 1948 and involved in the trial of Lucretiu Patrascanu. After long years of detention (she was relased only in 1961), sole survivor of the trial, she writes a shocking book, "Silent Escape", which is the basis of this film and which constitutes an amazing testimony about the will to survive, in prison, escaping through creation. ...

  • First Contact

    In the early 30s the last remaining large populations in the world came into contact with Western civilization. First Contact tells the story of the 'discovery' of the New Guinea highlands by Australian gold prospectors, and in particularly Michael Leahy and his brothers.The first part of the film First Contact provides the backround to the story. They include a brief description to the highlands and the highlanders, a very brief history of the European presence in Papua New Guinea and an account of Leahy's early life. The fil is about the events of 1933, when Leahy led a series of prospecting expedition into the highlands and initiated the first contacts between highlanders and Europeans. The account is based on his diaries and later writings and on interviews with people still alive who witnessed the events-highlanders, white Australians, and their carriers from costal group. The last part of the film describes the forces that would irrevocably alter highland culture. ...

  • For God's Sake

    "Crucified to death by a priest and some fellow nuns, a young nun died after being exposed to a ritual of exorcism performed in a remote Romanian monastery". This story was making headlines around the world in June 2005. The Middle Age scenario and spectacular media coverage stirred the imagination of the international general public. In February 2007, the priest was sentenced to 14 years inprisonment, and the nuns to 8 and 5 years respectively. What is real fact and what is fiction in this stunning story? Using archive photos, exclusive testimonies and original filmed material, the documentary goes beyond the media coverage in the case of the life and death of 23 year-old Irina Cornici. The story is complicated, as it involves malpractice, both medical and religious, and confused institutions in a new EU member country who is not yet ready abandon the communist legacy. ...

  • Forgiving the Blood

    Part one of a trilogy about passion in three Europeam nations. In a village in Kosovo, an Albanian farmer faces a critical dilemma: should he avange the murder of his son by an Albanian neighbor, or, in light of the escalating conflict in Yugoslavia and the increasinf threat of Serbian agression toward Albanians, should he heed the call to bolster Albanian national unity and abandon the age-old honor codew of retribution, the blood fleud? Candid interviews of personal dramas inextricably linked to turbulent political events. ...

  • From Moscow to Pietushki

    The film evoke with humour and bitter insight the novel "Moscow to Pietushki" by Vyenedict Yerefeyev, one of the finest Russian writers of the Khrushchev period, a time when hope for liberalisation faded and an entire generation of Russian sought escape through alcoholism. A survivor of throat cancer, Yerefeyev need mechanical assistance to speak, but his dry gallow humour survives intact. ...

  • Gigi, Monica and Bianca

    Gigi is 17, Monica is 15. They live on the street of Bucharest together with other homeless children. Monica is the only girl in the group. They hang around the railway station, eat whatever they can find, sleep where and if they can. Gigi and Monica became close. They are two ingeniuous lovers waiting for their child to be born. Little Bianca comes to this world under precarious circumstances, bringing confussion and happiness to her parents. In 1994 Benoit Dervaux and Yasmina Abdellaoui set out to Romania to film homeless children. Impressed by the story of the two lovers, they return months later to film Bianca's birth. Thus they have captured on camera the joy and sorrows of two children who were forced to grow up to soon. A distressing film about life that eventually prevails. ...

  • Golden Dances

    After he has worked traditional gold brocade all his life, an old man who has been deprived of his job because of the war and the poor economical conditions of his country, must find a way to carry on without the original material, which has become much too expensive. Shotgun shells can do, after they are turned into long shiny thin threads. The film depicts the journey of the used cartridges from the army barracks to the colorful decorations on Iranian costumes and traditional musical instruments. ...

  • Gossip at the Shot Pillars

    January 2006. City of Cluj Napoca. In the centre of the city, near the monument of revolution heroes murdered in December 1989, two people talk. A TV reporter interfeares in their discussion asking about the significance of the monument: "Shot pillars". Their discussion slips toward politics, as we are in Romania and is cold outside. The two individuals turned to be ... ...

  • Grass: A Nation Battle for Life

    Grass: A Nation's Battle for Life is a 1925 silent documentary film which follows a branch of the Bakhtiari tribe of Iran as they and their herds make their seasonal journey to better pastures. It is considered one of the earliest ethnographic documentary films.The film is Merian C. Cooper, Ernest Schoedsack, and Marguerite Harrison's documentation of their journey from Angora (modern-day Ankara, Turkey) to the Bakhtiari lands of western Iran, in what is now the Chahar Mahaal va Bakhtiari province. They then follow Haidar Khan as he leads 50,000 of his people and countless animals on a harrowing trek across the Karun River and over Zard Kuh, the highest peak in the Zagros Mountains. In filming the journey, Cooper, Schoedsack, and Harrison became the first Westerners to make the migration with the Bakhtiari. The film highlights the extreme hardships faced by nomadic peoples, as well as the bravery and ingenuity of the Bakhtiari. ...

  • Gratian

    The people in Izbuc, a village in the Romanian Carpathian mountains, think tahat their fellow villager Gratian Florea is a werewolf. According to amn old custom, whwn a child is born, the midwifes call upon the spirits, to make the chilf hard working, beautiful, loveable or wise. it is said that whwn Gratian was born, the ombilical cors broke only after the midwifw called for the werewolf. This crucial moment was to influence his whole life. His family and rhe whole village rejected him. at 73, Gratian lives in a shack outside the village, without water and heating. Every Saturday Gratian goes into the village to beg fot the food he needs for the following week. The saying goes that those who refused to give him something will have their sheep eaten by wolves after a few days. In his solitude, Gratian works with astronomical numbers. He says that his thoughts about belief, moral values, and eternal life will help him discover infinity. Hes sees himself as a traveler into the universe, who at a certain time will surprass the wordly exsitence and the essence of his soul will become equal to God. ...

  • Himalaya

    This film evolved from the epic life of two of the author's closest Tibetan friends, Tinle and Norbou. Tinle is a yakpa, or "cowboy" - a man of action, a fighter, a challenge-seeker, and a leader. Norbou is a lama and a painter - a man entirely devoted to prayers and art. When the author first met him, he had never set foot outside his monastery. Both men live in the Dolpo region, one of the highest and most isolated areas nestled deep in the Nepalese Himalayas. Protected by political and geographical barriers, the Dolpo is a truly hidden country, guarding the inviolate heart of Tibet. By uniting the lives of both characters, the film naturally emerged. Tinle became Norbou's father. The mysterious death of a family member brings them together despite their ideological differences. They must confront, with superhuman strength, an ordeal that may the whole valley's destiny. "It was essential that I remain true to my sources. The writing of the story with Olivier Dazat had to be done in cooperation with Tinle, Norbou and the other characters in the film. I intentionally prefer to use the word "characters" instead of the term "actors", because these men and women essentially played themselves in front of a camera, a new experience for most of them". ...

  • Hippie Masala. For Ever In India

    The hippy revolution engendered several waves of migration from Europe to India during the 1960-1970. A lot of rebel young people who were fed up with the capitalist society left for India, in search of real spiritual values. For some, the dream did not last long. The shocking realities of India made them give up and go back home. Others however discovered Paradise in India, or at least they thought they had at the time. Some of them still do. ...

  • Holy Men and Fools

    The story of two Hindu sadhus, Uma and Vasisth Giri, one of Swedish woman, the other a 29 year old Indian. Together they go on a pilgrimage of self-discovery into the high Himalayas to the source of the River Ganges, searching out the saints and mystics of Hinduism. They meet a sadhu who has nit spoken a word for 12 years. They spend days living in the caves and huts of reclusive ascetics. After 27 years searching Uma finally discovers the spiritual master she has always been searching for. ...

  • Humoresca

    This portrait of a Romanian, 94-year-old woman consists of short fragments, snippets of footage, you might even say. They have been grouped in chapters with titles like the ones used in silent movies. Most of them are Romanian proverbs. The rhythm of the film is determined by the compositions Humoresque by Dvorak and Mendelssohn-Bartholdy's Wedding March, which results in an almost slapstick-like atmosphere. The film on the one hand tells the story of Maria and on the other characterises the Zeitgeist in Romania then and now. Maria is exemplary. She has had to work hard all her life, first as the eldest of six children and later on the communist farm where she milked twenty cows a day for thirty years. She did her job ungrudgingly. The brightest spot in her life was the arrival of a man, who moved in with her and never left. To this day, they live together and hang their walking sticks on the clothesline when they sit on their doorstep. Maria is ready to leave this life, but there is one thing she has not arranged yet: money for the funeral. She outsmarts the priest. ...

  • Hungarian ID

    In early 2002 the Hungarian Government Hungary (with the right wing party FIDESZ in power at the time) issued a so called Status Act for the Hungarian ethnic diaspora. As part of this law every Hungarian ethnic person from the historical diaspora in the neighbouring countries of Hungary (Romania, Serbia, Ukraine, Slovacia, Austria) could ask for a so called Magyar igazolvány, a Hungarian ID card to prove Hungarian identity. According to this act, the use of the card would offer facilities to those who owned it, such as discount travel fairs and entry tickets in museums in Hungary, and others. Apart from the practical uses, the card had a symbolic value that caused a lot of controversies. This film made by a Hungarian documentary director follows the peculiar situations that occurred because of the ID within the Hungarian community in Transilvania. ...

  • Independence

    Independence is a former one-person apartments building in Sibiu, transformed into a block of flats. The very narrow apartments make life not very comfortable here. Razvan is a child living in the Independence building, whose mother left to Western Europe for work. A sensitive portrait of a child who tries to live a normal life, but who sometimes is overwhelmed by the feeling of missing his mother. ...

  • Ion Nicodim - A Passanger on Earth

    A film about the artist Ion Nicodim, about the place of his birth and inspiration - Dobrogea, about the creation process, about our origins. ...

  • Joe Leahy's Neighbours

    The follow- up of Fist Contact. It traces the fortune of Joe Leahy, mixed-race son of an Australian explorer Michael Leahy and a highland woman, and follows his uneasy relationship with his tribal neighbours, the Ganina. Joe built his caffee plantation on land bought from the Ganina in the mid 1970s. Raised in the village but educated by the colonial whites, Joe has his feet into cultural camps. He spants much of his walkings hours just keeping the lid on things. Filmmakers Connolly and Anderson lived 18 months on the edge of Joe 's plantation, in the 'no man's land' between Leahy and the Ganina. Their lively non-judgemental narative film eloquently captures the conflicting values of tribalism and capitalism. ...

  • Losers and Winners

    For one and a half years, filmmakers Ulrike Franke and Michael Loeken watch as a gigantic industrial site is dismantled, documenting the stories accompanying its disappearance: how the coke workers in the industrial Ruhr Region experience the arrival and working methods of the Chinese, their feelings upon seeing their pride in their work vanish along what was the most modern coke factory in the world, but also the strain and conflicts the Chinese workers are subjected to during their 60-hour work week far away from home and family, caught between euphoria and doubts about their future. Two worlds collide. But who is ultimately the winner and who the loser when jobs and the "economic miracle" that made them possible leave the country of their origin and a whole region of Germany experiences first-hand the impact of the phenomenon of globalization, while in the Middle Empire new visions come and go with each passing day? ...

  • Low Cost

    The first Romanian documentary on the local impact of globalization brings together two groups of female-workers from two factories belonging to the same Franco-Romanian company. At one point, the French owner has to make a decision. Instead of firing a number of French workers, he offeres them a job at one of the company's branches in Medias, Romania. The film analyses in honesty and empathy the meeting of the two cultures, deciding that there is not a question of a culture clash. The workers, be they French or Romanian, manage to establish communication, even if they do not speak the same language. After all, they are confronted with similar difficulties, and the low salaries payed by the employer is the most important of them all. The film does not attempt to reject globalization, nor to demonize employers on behalf of the employees. It is rather a discreet insight into people's everyday joys and dissatisfactions. ...

  • Making Rain

    The Vumba Hills in central Mozambique, close to the Zimbabwe border, are the kingdom of Mambo (Chief) Chirara. The Mambo's leading position is acknowledged by the government, and in addition to being the region's most important spiritual leader, the Mambo has the right to hold court cases that deal with minor crimes, problems involving spirits and domestic affairs. He is assisted by several subchiefs and ritual leaders. In the northern most corner of the Mambo's kingdom, Mbuya Gondo, an over 70-years-old woman, is a spiritual medium. She often holds ceremonies at a well-known rock drawing site. Mambo Chirara is not pleased with the old lady's activities. In his opinion, Mbuya Gondo acts too independently and demands too much money for carrying out the ceremonies. In the film, gender issues and local politics are brought to the surface as we follow these two leaders during a period of preparing for and performing the annual rainmaking rituals. ...

  • Merchands of Miracles

    Imported charlatanism or local traditions, miracles can be sold in Africa just like any other merchandise. Some believe in the noisy speeches, other's don't. Still the show ofered by the "merchants of miracles" is sometimes fascinating and the film reveals its entire "splendour". Either captivating or repugnant, it is worth, anyway, watching it. ...

  • Milky Way

    Unlike other authentic mioritical shepherd films, walking their flocks through heavenly landscapes, the two main characters of this film are so called „Bucharest shepherds". They take out at grass their cows in a saddening display, filled with plastic bags and all sort of garbage, near by the Capital City. Even so, Mihai and Titinel still do business with the same customers, the ones that remained retentionists and consistently refuse on buying the pasteurized milk found at the local shop. Nicely framed, very aesthetically clean, this film captures the destiny of the people of Romania, freshly joined to U.E.. ...

  • Miraculous Fountain of Doctor Benedek

    This film portrays a real and tragic character that Romania knows very little about. Persecuted by the Communist regime for his belief, the early death of Dr.Benedek gave him the aura of a saint due to some paranormal manifestations that occured near his grave. The film does not try to convince us of the truthfulness of these phenomena, neither attempts it to prove that the water from the spring that flows near his tomb is miraculous. It rather makes the portrait of a martyr putting together testimonies of those who knew him. Last but not least, the film explores the human need for faith and for models. ...

  • My Home

    On the outskirts of Bucharest, two 14-year-olds live by themselves in an apartment, without their families. How is it that they got here? What about their past? Alex and Petronel struggle to cope with daily life as adults. At any rate, they’ve never been allowed a real childhood. Casa Mia follows the two main characters in their thoughts and in their memories of their past lives spent with their families and on the streets. The film accompanies them as they reveal their dreams and set out for two different destinations. Alex struggles to make his dream come true, while Petronel takes a trip back in time, in search of love from his family. But at home all he finds is disappointment. ...

  • No Longer Achmed

    Achmed Hamdoon, a young Arab Bedouin of the Hamdoon tribe, was raised in the family tin hut, a few meters away from the locked gate of Kibbutz "Lotem" in West Galilee, Northern Israel. Having longed for the kibbutz life most of his youth, he finally pulls out and moves to "Lotem", changing his name to the typically Israeli name Meidan Sade. The clan is outraged and sees him as a "traitor". But Meidan, no longer Achmed, feels this is the only way to access the opportunities offered by the Israeli society. The price, however, is high. Meidan is lonely, unable to find a Jewish girl to accept him, nor a Bedouin girl to understand why he has chosen to cross the line. ...

  • Obcina

    Obcina is a small village hidden in the Romanian Carpathian Mountains. In summer, some dozens of Ruthenians live and work there. In winter they all leave the village because of the extreme weather conditions, except the cooper's family. The Cuts have survived many winters up in the mountain, until an unexpected event threatened their lives. One day Stefan Cut had too much to drink and as he was walking on the mountain paths, he fell asleep in the snow. The fingers from one hand froze and amputation was the only solution. But Stefan delayed his decision to accept surgery. On the one hand, he feared the pain, but on the other, he was concerned about his family. How could they possibly survive if he was not able to work anymore? Finally, Stefan's operation is successful and he can make use of his hand again. But the family starts questioning whether they should go on living up in the mountain. ...

  • On A Tightrope

    The Xinjiang Province of China is one of th worst places in the world when it comes to human rights abuse. The Muslim Uyghurs are systematically oppressed. At least 10,000 have been imprisoned, suspected of separatism, and hundreds have been executed. This film follows four children at a government orphanage who are learning the Uyghur tradition of Dawaz, tightrope walking. ...

  • On The Road

    Every autumn, shepards from Transylavania set off with their flocks in search of green grass. They follow an ancient route wich takes them hundreds of miles away from home. During his journey, the master of the flock is murdered in a forest. His youngest son mist take over one thousand sheep, five donkeys, seven dogs and four hired sheperds. sleeping in the open, marching through villages and fields, fighiting bad wheater and truck drivers'prejudice, he learns to be a master. ...

  • One Voice, one Vote

    Documentary or animation? Apparently, we are dealing with two completely different genres. We can ultimately accept a "docu-fiction" genre, but how should it be possible to mix documentary and animation and still obtain an organic final product? Well, the filmmakers have found an original method to propose us an "animated documentary"! ...

  • Other Worlds

    In Eastern Europe, transition is a long, often painful process to a lot of people. Unemployment, identity crises, dezilusion - they are all effects of the economic and social transition. Marginal communities (i.e. Gipsies) are some of the most affected. Yet... why should we always notice only the dark side of the life, and not get funny now and then? Other Worlds is first of all a funny film, refusing toughness. ...

  • Our Street

    "Our Stret" is in Poland, in the city Lodz, which is far from what it used to be during the communist regime. It is a place where Old Europe meets New Europe. Right under the windows of the apartment inhabited by a Polish family of workers, who have lived there for five generations, a French investor built the Manufaktura, the largest shopping and entertainment centre in Central Europe. The centre has been built on the ruins of an industrial site, where all the members of the Furmanczyk family used to work in the times when Lodz was considered „the promised land", one of the most prosperous European cities. The film documents the life of the Furmanczyks for three years, covering the period of Poland's adhering to the EU and the opening of the centre. There is every-day struggle and few moments of happiness in a world of confusing economic changes. ...

  • People of Romania

    Seven short films describe seven ethnic communities living in Romania. Their forefathers have settled here a long time ago, with hopes for a better life. The series informs about the history of each ethnical group and sketches features of their cultural identity. ...

  • Pigeon

    Only one Armenian has remained in a formerly Armenian village in Southern Turkey. All the others have left the village, either to move into town or to migrate to other countires. The old man tells stories of the past and of his present loneliness and sadness. ...

  • Prirechnyy-The Town That No Longer Exists

    The inhabitants of the Russian town of Prirechnyy have received a letter from the county of Murmansk telling them that their town no longer exists. Still, a handful of retired persons refuse to leave this once-proud mining community. We meet four of them in their absurd, small universe in northern Russia. ...

  • Room 11, Ethiopia Hotel

    Ethiopia Hotel used to be part of the Italian army barracks during the Fascist occupation. From the hotel windows you can see the street, and the street children who struggle to survive each day. The film recounts the life of street children in Gondar, Ethiopia, by witnessing the communication and collaboration between the filmmaker and two children in a limited spatial setting, room 11 in the Ethiopia Hotel. This limited space allows the film to focus on communication and captures some of the ideas that enable them to endure and survive on the street. ...

  • Sasha

    The painful, dramatic years of changes. In Uzupis, a small nook of Vilnius, the name of which is already well known in the world. "The last bastion of Romanticism" - the pictorial place favoured by poets, artists, and photographs, "Montmartre of Vilnius" is becoming the outpost of aggressive pragmatism - in the eyes of indigene Sasha, and Laurynas, an Uzupis "Gavroche". The object of the film is a fragile and retreating world, still fluttering in the open palm of the banner of the U?upis Republic. In the centre of the film - the theme of home. The home that rises, the home that falls. ...

  • SchoolScapes

    Inspired by the cinema of Lumiere and the ideas of the 20th century Indian thinker Krishnamurti, David MacDougall this time explores a famous progressive school in South India, the Rishi Valley School. This is a film dedicated to the simple act of looking, in which each scene is a single shot. ...

  • Scream of the Stone

    At Potosí, just like everywhere else, mining gives birth to local traditions and a specific way of life. This occupation engenders legends, myths and superstitions. Yet this „touristy" façade often hides the sufferance of the people working here. This is the only job they know from generations, thus they are condemned to mining for life. ...

  • Self Portait on An Autumn Leaf

    "To paint means to let yourself carried away by an inner drive. This has been painter's Ion Tuculescu artistic faith. The film explores the secret world of he artist, a world full of secrets. His utmost desire has been to be a "primitive", to let himself guided only by his instincts. The film is a story going beyond the artist's easel. ...

  • Serbian Epics

    This documentary set in Bosnia during the war, Pawlikowski steers clear of the usual cliches of war reporting. He takes on the more anthropological perspective relying not on commentary but on the power of images. Pawlikowski's most original and formally succesful film was "Serbian Epics" which was made at the height of Bosnian war. The oblique, ironic, imagistic at times almost hypnotic study of mith-making and murder made aroused a storm of controversy and incomprehension at the time but has now secured it something of a cult status. ...

  • Shepherds of Bernaray

    Bernaray is a small island in the Outer Hebrides from which many family were displaces in the past to make way for sheep. Follows the work of the shepherds over the course of a year, with Gaelic songs and stories, interwoven with interviews. Different presures are now forcing people to move away from the island, and the film raises nthe question of whether it will be able to avoid the fate of neighbouring islands, now used solely for winter grazing of sheep. Documentary tracing the life of the island and its people through the changes of the seasons, concentrating on the sheep and fishing industries of the island. A Scottish indepenedent film made by to Americans, Allen Moore and Jack Shea. ...

  • Slow Szék

    The village/ town of Szék/Sic - where our film was made is in Transylvania and is situated about 50 km North form Cluj Napoca in a territory called Mezoség. Even in the Middle Ages the settlement had the rank of a town because of its salt mines. It has lost its town rank later int he 19th century when all the mines got empty. The Roman churches, Gothic frescos and architectural monuments are the reminders of its glorious past. Its traditional folkmusic, that served as a basis for the Hungarian folk-dance movement, had its high time during the 1960's, the time when the base of our film was made. At this time not only the folkmusic but other cultural aspects were also vivid. In our film we try to show these from the perspective of three generations. ...

  • Small Town Girl

    Joanne, Charlotte and Sian are not stars, they are anyone. I filmed their lives every few months for five years. I wanted to stay as close as possible to the individuality of their lives, to find a story in their real lives, which I would discover only as I filmed it. I wanted to see how a child grows into a young woman. Three girls; two small towns; England north and west. In 2001 they are twelve, first years at school; in 2005 they are preparing for college. The changes they go through are intense, fascinating and very fast! Away from the bright lights of the big cities, they find their own entertainment, form new friendships and relationships; quarrel, fall out and make up. They live through economic depression, race riots and death. As the film unfolds, their behaviour and their relationships with their parents changes in surprising and sometimes tragic ways. ...

  • STAM, We are staying

    Two filmmakers spend time getting to know Ruth and Natalia, two young Romanian women who grew up together in the Transylvanian village of Malancrav. One is a Gypsy, the other a Saxon; one left the village, the other stayed. The only thing they seem to have in common is their childhood friendship. This is a film that explores the contradictions in their relationship and questions our understanding of social and ethnic belonging, migration, money, rural life and the search for one's roots. ...

  • Stella

    Stella is a modest, ordinary Romanian woman of the post-communist transition age. Or maybe Stella is not common person after all, as she has had the courage to go west, hoping for a better life. Her dream did not turn into reality, and Stella comes back to Romania, with new expectations. She hopes that maybe, once back to Romania, she will eventually be able to build up the life she dreamed of while she was living in Western Europe. ...

  • Sugartown: The Bridegrooms

    "Funny social analysis" would be the most appropriate words describing this films that deals with the problem of women missing in a Greek village. The male population of the village has no other solution but to seek for women somewhere else. They try to solve this problem in a less usual way: to go to Ukraine in the mass in order to meet their future wives there… ...

  • The Brassy Bands

    Poverty is the first thing to cross your mind when thinking of a Gipsy village. And it really is the first thing to strike you when entering a Gipsy village. However, despite the poverty and the hard life, Gipsies have the sense of music and rhythm like nobody else. Music is part of their daily life, and they need music just like they need air. The film explores the fascinating hidden world of the Gypsies. ...

  • The Center

    Europe's geographic center must be lacated somewhere between North Cape, Greece, Portugal and Russia. Stanislav Mucha untekes the task of finding the centre of Europe. His rechearch has been more than successful, since he found no less than 20 geographical centres of the continent. Depending to the interviewers the "real" centre lie in Germany, in Austria, in Lithuania, in Poland in Slovakia or in Ukraine. Travelling across the continent, the filmmaker collected hallucinating, extravagant, utopian, chauvinist, fantastic, or well-documented testimonies on the subject. As Europe undergoes a process of expansion, we can assume that its center, wherever it might be, has a vocation to move. Geography is less important when you can state , at least one in a lifetime, thet you are living in the center of the world. ...

  • The Death of Yugoslavia; Part I: Enter Nationalism

    Never before, during the course of a war, have all the heads of the rival states told the inside story of the decisive moments in the conflict. ...

  • The Fallen Vampire – Bela Lugosi

    The film follows the biography of the actor Bela Lugosi from his birth and early childhood in a small Transylvanian town, his early days as an actor when he played Jesus on the stage of the National Theatre in Budapest, and the years of glory after playing Dracula, the "mysterious count of the Carpathians". He ended up being identified with his character, and never really escaped the Dracula label. Bela Lugosi is introduced in the film by people who knew him: close friends, family, oponents, directors and script writers he worked with (among them Bela Lugosi Jr., director István Szabó, actor Boris Karloff, historian Gary Rhodes). The documentary also investigates the influence of Bela Lugosi's Transylvanian origin in the process of creating the character that made him famous. ...

  • The Fat to Bed, the Slim to the Ball

    A fat woman's life in a highly intolerant society is not a bed of roses. Indeed, a young fat woman will more likely end up in bed with a man rather than at a fancy restaurant. Yet, overweight women strive to find happiness, constantly struggling with obstacles they encounter almost every day. The film was inspired by a website, www.XL-pozytywnie.pl, aimed at raising public awareness on the issue of the increasing number of overweight persons in Poland. The site offers advise on various subjects such as fashion, sports, mental health, and sex. The author of the website, Marta, has fought her own personal battle. The film offers an intimate insight of the difficulties she experienced as a teenager, and of her fight to acquire self-confidence ...

  • The Future of Visual Anthropology

    In the summer of 2001 the IWF in Gottingen hosted the conference "Origins of Visual Anthropology - Putting the Past Together". Important representatives of the field came together to discuss the history of the subdiscipline. Three students were equally interested in their visions about "The Future of Visual Anthropology". They conducted brief interviews concerning this question with filmmakers and scholars such as Jean Rouch, lan Dunlop, Paul Henley, Karl Heider, Howard Morphy, Peter Crawford, Harald Prins, and Jay Ruby. "The Future of Visual Anthropology" presents the common themes that were touched upon during these conversations. The film is a reflection on how people talk and think about the future, present and past of Visual Anthropology in 2001. The film will be published on DVD together with all the unedited interviews. This makes it useful for teaching and documentation but also constitutes a piece of Visual Anthropology that discloses its strategies of representation. ...

  • The Lamenters

    When the professional lamenters perform the archaic ritual of death, they become spiritually connected to those who pass to the Other World, establishing a link between life and death. In their everyday life they are common housewives, concerned with the daily household care. The film talks about the professional lamenters in the Romanian village Sapânta, in Maramures. They reveal their thoughts about life and death, and about the mysteries of Other World, hidden to most people, but open to intuitive perception of some. A film about the profession and the vocation of lamenting the dead. ...

  • The Lapirovs Go West

    In 1981, a Russian Jew family finally receive their immigration visas for the USA. Ilya Lapirov is in his fifties. He teaches Russian literature. Together with his wife Isabella, and their 9-years old son Kiecha, they leave the URSS for the first time. Jean Luc Leon accompanies them to Los Angeles, their new home, and the camera recors their reactions of amusement and the delusion while they addapt to their new lives. Only in 1993 the Lapirovs manage to save enough money for a 10 days trip to Moscow. The film captures emotional scenes with the Lapirovs visiting places and old friends after 10 years of absence. After all they have been through, "home" has a diffrent meaning for each of them. ...

  • The Last Peasants - Journeys

    Angus Macqueen's three-part series follows the human stories of three Romanian families torn apart by the realities of migration. The remote village of Budesti in Northen Romania is a world of the past, filled with horses and carts, and medieval beliefs. but the young villagers see no roamnce in their existence. Their eyes are turned to the modern world of the West. in Budesti, every family has an illegal immmigrant abroad. In Journeys, he explores the realities facing the immigrants. observational, up-close, and touching, the film looks at the changes imposed on the local community by the collapse of Communism and the new relationship with Western Europe. at the same time, The Last Peasants depicts the agony of the peasant culture that has survived two World Wars and half a century of communism, but is threatened with extinction after just a decade of democracy. ...

  • The Living Water

    Through the story of Hortense, l'Eau vive go deep into the question of the relation of man with the nature. The transhumance is the symbol of a symbiotic and historical relation between humans and animal nature disturbed by the technological "modernity" represented by the edification of the mountain hydrolic barrage and the consequent diorder of the global ecology of traditional life of one side, and the confusion provoked in human life, on the other side. L'eau vive, where shepard and sheep are the other main heroes of the story remain an ode to nature and the questions approached are still of a very great acuality. ...

  • The Lost Village

    In an inhospitable place, on a marshland surrounded by woods, there is a hermitage surrounded by a centuries-old village. The village community performes every day ceremonies devoted to the Virgin. Their whole lives are built around protecting and venerating Holy Mary, whose image is kept in the hermitage. The film analyses the magnetism exerted by the cult of the Virgin on this small rural community and on the entire Catholic world. ...

  • The Potter From Binis

    A portrait film about a potter from Banat, Ionica Stepan, aged 80, who keeps alive the tradition of six generations of potters. His grandfather used to travel across the Austro-Hungarian Empire to sell his pottery or exchange it for grains. According to tradition, a man could not marry before mastering the art of pottery. The film observes what has remained of the potters' tradition by introducing a remarkable character to the viewer. ...

  • The Shepherds

    Three shepherds of the Piedmontesse valley of Biella ar living proofs of an ancient way of life, as old as the history of human race itself. Towards the end of spring, they leave the lowlands for the mountains, following the footsteps of their ancestors. They are accompanied by dogs, a few donkeys and the flocks of sheep. They must set off looking for pastures until the coming of fall. It is a sign that one sees less and less these days, but not long ago, this practice used to be passed on from generation to generation. Nowadays there are just a few of them left and very soon there will be nobody willing to live this kind of life, away from the confort offered by the modern world. ...

  • The Shutka Book of Records

    The inhabitants of Shutka, the Romany capital of the world, all share one common passion: being a champion. Shutka thrives on achieving records in songfests, goose fights, dog fights, and vampire hunts, in wearing Sunday best, collecting Turkish music or exterminating evil Genies. Through a number of intertwining stories, this playful, humorous film takes us into a world that is generally closed to outsiders. As the mosaic of Shutka unfolds, we are led to ask ourselves: Where lays the secret of joy? Aren't the smallest things in life often those that make life such an unforgettable experience? Don't look for Shutka on a geographical map. Shutka is a state of mind. ...

  • The Unkosher Truth

    A father and his daughter meet and talk. The daughter was grown up in a liberal way, and the father realizes that the 'liberal way' was eventually far too liberal… or maybe it's him who became far too conservative in the meantime… A conflict between generations and a conflict between ways of life. The film is dealing with a series of conflicts between a father who loves his daughter and a daughter who needs her father's warmth. ...

  • To Be or Not To Be

    A film about a theatre company in a prison. The prison is the high-security penitenciary in Arad, Romania. The actors? A long list of names, identities, sentences, and crimes. What happens to them, and what happens to us watching as they are punished for our own fears, addictions, and prejudice? After all, we cannot be sure about the point where freedom makes place to feelings of guilt, repentence or … theatre performance. Does this happen behind or outside the prison bars? People are likely to put up performancesall the time, both on stage and in their real lives. ...

  • Two Sisters

    It's been ten years since the Kosovo War is pver. However, the wounds are still visible and the earth is still full of antipersonnel mines. The film speaks about two women who struggle to clean up the soil of the ordures of the war. It is a story of devotion, courage and most of all ideals in a world that has lost its ideals. ...

  • Vendetta

    „As the cuckoo bird sand, / I was to die a yound lad. / And insread of getting married / People came to see me buried./ My soldier service had been done / And I set off to my homeland./ A wretched man popped up,/ He stabbed me with his knife/ And took away my life." In the early 80s, a young man was being stabbed right in front of a hotel in a central area of a city in Maramures. He was coming home after having served in the army. The attack was a punishment for the sadistic treatment he had applied to his fellow-soldiers who came from the same region as he did. After 24 year of grief, his family cannot and would not forget this tragic event. ...

  • Viva Constanța!

    Tudor Lakatos is a school teacher. He is in his 40s, he's a Gypsy, and he wants to be famous. He also found a way to reach fame. He is an imitator of Elvis Presley. The lyrics of the great hits once played by the "king of rock-and-roll" have been translated into Romany, and Tudor Lakatos gets ready for the tour to Constanta. His Romany-Rock repertoire is the key to fame. ...

  • We're Gonna Seed the Land in Some Future Time

    Szék, this Hungarian speaking community in the North-Western part of Mezoség in Transilvania, Romania, uniquely preserved its heritage and social-cultural integrity until the political changes in 1989. Its traditional dances, folk songs, traditional costumes, which can be seen even today, and other folklores made Szék a remarkable place. It has been frequented by ethnographers, professional and amateur photographers, documentarists and travellers interested in folklore from all over the world for a long time. However, the political changes in 1989 brought many changes in the life of the community: "The World has opened up", traditions - so far very important - have been eliminated from one day to the other. Along with this working abroad became a very favoured thing: the 80 percent of the inhabitants, who are able to work, works abroad - the men work at house constructions and the women take on cleaning jobs at families. Szék people spend the three-quarter of their year working away from home, and sometimes work 10 or 12 hours a day. The money they earn they mostly spend on building 8 - 14 room houses, whose most important function is to represent the families' financial status.This life style, however endangers the community and the institution of the family. While the parents are away, the children are left with the grandparents, who are not able to replace the parents' caring, educating and coordinating role. Szék people are aware of the destructive effects of their chosen life strategy, they are aware that their sacrifice - in which they force their children too- is irrational, but they du not actually try to change their situation. The aim of the documentary, on one hand, is to comprehensively draw the image of the ambiguous and tense society of Szék, which is mostly characterised by the contrast of the traditional culture and the modern world (most vividly found in the notion of "generation gap"). On the other hand, the film-makers attempt to show the everyday drama of Szék people today, through the life of a three generation family. The film was made within the three year research programme set by the Cultural and Visual Anthropology Department at the University of Miskolc, which focuses on the consequences of the political system change in five communities in the Carpatian-basin. ...

  • With Much Love and Kisses

    Northern Russia. The Solovetskii Islands in the White Sea. An ancient monastery, turned into a concentration camp. Here, in the 1930s, famous philosophers, scholars, engineers and writers spent the last days of their lives. And 70 years later their children and grandchildren come here in order to see for the first time the stones, the monastery walls and northern landscapes, which their parents also saw. At the end of October and beginning of November 1937 more than 1000 prisoners were taken from the Solovetskii islands to the mainland and executed. But their letters were preserved by a miracle. And thanks to these letters, life is seen to be unconquered by death. Thanks to them, a woman who was once a small girl can now hear the voice of her father, who still thinks of and cares for her. This film is also about love. For it is love that unites the heroes of the 1930s, who perished but preserved their dignity, and their close, "loved and dear" ones, who only now, 70 years after the executions, have the opportunity to arrive for a meeting with their mothers, fathers and grandparents. ...

  • Workers's Dream

    loan and Ngah fill in employment application forms, go to interviews but fail to get a job. Dinh talks about the working conditions in the international corporations which have set up in Vietnam and voices her claims. Thao films loan and Ngah during those long waiting days while they encourage and comfort each other. They talk about their hopes and disappointments, the lack of money and love. ...

  • Yellow Box

    You come across betel nuts stands everywhere you go in Taiwan.In order to start your own business, you only need a Hi-Fi, a desk, a mirror, a refrigerator and neon lights for decoration.The stand must be located on some main street or on the highway, as the target customers are male workers and truck drivers. The betel nuts stand girls must addapt to their customers' sexual fantasies. Scantily dressed and wearing a charming smile, they offer brief moments of relief to those who are overworked. From the outside, it looks like a glamorous life, but if you look behind the showcase window you can see to many working hours for too little money. ...