Centrul Astra Film
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Astra Film Festival

Astra Film Festival 2011 - Films

  • 24 Buckets, 7 Mice, 18 Years

    A unique way of life that repeats itself every day, slowly transformed Imre and Piroska in some museum exhibits. In a quiet and isolated world we meet a couple whose existence comes to depend on the interaction with a different outer world, oposed to the absurdity of their own. Their life is a standstill, like a diorama in a museum, but they are trying to break through. ...

  • A Little Bit About Ana

    The film makes a journey across Ana's life. Ana is in quest of falling in love, of having the best possible friends, of finding herself, and of being accepted by others. It is a journey through the dark. A documentary about trafficked women in Romania, one among many tragic issues in post-communist Romania. ...

  • After the Revolution

    This is a film about what happened just after Romania's bloody 1989 revolution. Set in the streets of central Bucharest and filmed in the observational cinema style, After the Revolution follows the furious debates that were taking place on the streets at the time and observes the struggle for power between Ion Iliescu, a former Communist leader who assumed power immediately after Nicolae Ceausescu was deposed, and Ion Ratiu who had spent most of his life living in exile in London. ...

  • Al-Halqa - In the Storyteller's Circle

    'Al-Halqa - In the Storyteller's Circle addresses this fading culture of Morocco's itinerant story-tellers: the public square is the place where the 'Halaiqi' improvise or reinterpret for their circles of onlookers stories which have never been written down before, being orally transmitted from generation to generation. In Marrakech, Abderahim El Maqori tells stories that he has been collecting in his mind and heart since he was a child. As he is growing older, he starts teaching his son Zoheir - who got his name from a story that Abherahim told the day he was born - the tricks of his dying trade. Exquisitely shot, with a great sense for both the revealing close-up and for the atmospheric wide shot, Al-Halqa follows the teaching and learning process and, following on to that, the trip taken by the father and son to Fez, Morocco's intellectual capital, for the ultimate storytelling test in the city square. ...

  • Anything But Black

    ''You're born and you will die" confidently declares an eighty year old woman trying on the outfit she has prepared for her future death. Still widely practiced amongst the elderly population in rural Lithuania, the ancient custom of preparing your own burial clothes seems much less acceptable to the younger generation. „Anything But Black" explores this unique tradition through encounters with those who still maintain it - proudly showing off the dresses as their sacred possession; those who express their disapproval and also those to whom this practice is completely unheard of. The film proposes a rather unconventional attitude towards death - that of acceptance. From this perspective, death is less sinister, and can get even humorous. ...

  • Awareness

    Filmed in South India at Rishi Valley School, founded by the 20th Century Indian thinker Krishnamurti, "Awareness" explores the sensibilities of two groups of young Indian teen-agers - a group of girls in their dormitory, and a group of boys in theirs - as they live out their daily experiences at the school. The two groups were filmed separately by David and Judith MacDougall over a period of several months' stay at the school. The film highlights gender differences at this critical stage of adolescence and demonstrates how Krishnamurti's encouragement of individuals' awareness and sensitivity to their surroundings is played out at the school. The film provides an insight into education at one of the leading progressive schools of the Indian Subcontinent. ...

  • Bastards of Utopia

    The documentary offers an insight into the lives of three young Croatian activists. As children, they lived through the violent collapse of Yugoslavia. But now, amid the aftershocks of socialism's failure, they fight in their own way for a new leftism. In the middle of the struggle, a skeptical American is won over by their cause and even goes to jail with them. The film, shot during years of fieldwork with a Croatian anarchist collective, applies EnMasseFilm's unique blend of observation, direct participation and critical reflection to this misunderstood political movement. Its portrayal of activism is both empathetic and unflinching, due to the involvement of the Croatian director with a left-wing organization on the one hand, and to the detachment of the US co-director on the other. ...

  • Berlinskaya Fuga

    'Shocking picture from the heart of Eastern Ukraine. Remains of European culture in the dark industrial metropolis of Donetsk. Smoke, pollution, stray dogs, endless lines of broken down block of flats. Tania, a five year old girl growing up in love and hope in the warm family nest. Suddenly the day arrives when she has to face reality. ...

  • Bestiar

    Valea Mare is the name of an ancient Romanian village. When the coal mining industry settled nearby, the households were demolished one by one. Not even the old church, the heart of the village life, escapes the terrible rage of the gigantic mining machinery. "The Apocalypse" that had turned upon the village is seen through the eyes of sexton Mihai Dobre,for whom the small church has been the apple of his eyes for a lifetime. ...

  • Big Ocean

    The Romanian urban space has been marked by varioous cultural influences in the recent years, coming either from Western Europe or from the East. Since the 1990s, Chinese immigrants settled in to make a living. The documentary carefully avoids general issues confronting any alien in a foreign country, to give a discreet and profound insight of the stories of three Chinese merchants, who live constant confrontations with the competitors on the market, and who have to face everyday injustice, illegal practices of the authorities, and religious disagreement. In one way or the other, the ways of the three characters converge in the Europa Shopping Centre. It is the point zero of their social lives, that are marked by solitude and threats. ...

  • Bogota Change

    Antanas Mockus and Enrique Penalosa are the initiators of a spectacular urban crusade. What at first seems a battle with the windmills, proves to be a stubborn and effective war against a corrupt political system and a tired and satiated mentality. Finally, the people of Bogota takes seriously its role as a key actor of this amazing metamorphosis .The two politically independent mayors with unpopular and controversial methods, manage in a few years to change not only the face of one of the most dangerous and unfriendly cities in the world, but also to make its residents more engaged and responsible citizenship. ...

  • Changes

    After spending most of his adult life in Denmark, Kwabena wants to move back to Ghana, the country that he left more than 30 years ago. This film, by his daughter, chronicles one of his journeys to Ghana in preparation for his definitive return. It follows him as he reconnects with his old friends and his ancestral home. The questions, that subtly unfold within the film, touch upon the profound dilemma often felt by long-term immigrants, many of whom are no longer certain where „home" is. „Changes" explores the motives that drive immigrants back to their place of origin and the implications of such return. ...

  • Charity Salesmen

    Seven young Austrians, two Germans and one Hungarian work as paid fundraisers for the Malteser Relief Organization, an organization similar to the Red Cross, in the backwoods of Bavaria. It looks like a holiday camp, but it is hard work. Every morning they drive to their designated area, walk, walk, walk and ring houndreds of door bells trying to reach the hearts of the citizens. Their mission is to convince as many people as possible to make an annual donation to the organization by direct debit. They get paid according to their results. If they don't inscribe any new members, they don't earn a cent. This game has winners and losers. Some give up, while others quickly become clever sales people of charity. ...

  • Check Check Poto

    Mosaique is a community youth center based in Aubervilliers, a suburb of Paris focusing on 12 to 17 year-olds. Check Check Poto offers a glimpse into the life of this unique place where tenagers come and go freely, without having to pay or enroll, as regularly or irregularly as they please. They come to be listened to, to be informed and even to be supported in case of difficulties. Or they come simply to make an appearance and just be there. The film records and reconstructs the unspoken words. Behind the closed doors of this refuge, Check Check Poto draws an engaging, but harsh panorama of young people desperately searching for self-esteem. ...

  • Close to Heaven

    Dumitru Stanciu is one of the last mountain shepherds of Europe. As his forefathers did for thousands of years, in summer as in winter he and his herd of sheep roam the far reaches of the Transylvanian Carpathian Mountains, close to the edge of heaven... Vivid stories and fantastic myths, far from the world of today, cinematically narrated over the course of a year. ...

  • Crime Unpunished

    The film is about Béla Biszku, Communist ex-Minister of the Interior , who was one of the masterminds of the bloody and cruel retaliations after the Hungarian Revolution in 1956. Biszku was in office between 1957 and 1961, and from his position he demanded during Central Commission sessions of the Hungarian Communist Party more severe sentences and physical eliminations of the imprisoned revolutionaries. His ideas were put into practice, and the most ruthless reprisal followed. Béla Biszku retired in 1989. He did not give any interviews until 2009. The authors of the film managed to get to him and to make him speak, but finding out whether he had any remorse about the past or feels the need to appologize for what he did is a tricky business. ...

  • Crulic - The Path to Beyond

    'The animated feature-length "Crulic - The Path to Beyond" tells the story of the life of Crulic, the 33 years old Romanian who died in a Polish prison while making hunger strike. The acclaimed Romanian actor, Vlad Ivanov, narrates the ironical voice over from the point of view of the victim. ...

  • David Wants To Fly

    The unprecedented success story of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi began high up in the Himalayas. In the late 50s the guru arrived in Hollywood to propagate his school of meditation and "achieve world peace". He attracted numerous prominent followers, including the Beatles, Mia Farrow and Clint Eastwood. Today almost six million people worldwide practice transcendental meditation (TM). David, a young filmmaker seeking inspiration, is also prepared to give TM a try. Not least because his great professional idol, legendary director David Lynch, has personally assured him that this form of meditation is a great source of creativity and the key to success. ...

  • Discovery - Romania

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  • Djénéba- A Minyanka Woman of Southern Mali

    Djeneba is a mother of nine children living in Kadioloko, southern Mali. Since her husband left the family some years ago Djeneba and her children manage the family's fields without him. Recently the eldest boy, Madou, was married to a girl he met in town. In this film we explore daily life in the compound as Djeneba assumes full responsibility for her family's needs. Filmmaker, Bata Diallo, herself a Malian, engages Djenebas life-world in observational style and by way of intimate conversations. "Djeneba" is a documentary about everyday life in rural Mali from a woman's point of view. ...

  • Do You Have A Headache?

    The subject of the documentary „Do you have a headache?" is the interethnic conflict of March 1990 from Târgu Mures. The film is divided in several chapters-levels, from „practitioners" - those who directly and physically met the violence, those who drank, who fought or were beaten -, to the „observers", „interpreters" - actors and filmmakers of Targu Mures, members of the army, of the secret services or of the political parties. The filmmakers seak for the truth of the awfull manipulation, 20 years after the events, the state being unable to officialize it in all that period. A bilingual documentary, as a banner at the entrance in the city where both Romanians and Hungarins live alike. ...

  • Donor Unknown

    Donor Unknown follows the story of JoEllen Marsh, 20, as she goes in search of the sperm donor father she only knows as Donor 150. When JoEllen discovers a unique online registry that connects donor-conceived children, she manages to track down a half-sister in New York. The New York Times picks up the story, and, over time, 12 more half-siblings emerge across the USA.Donor Unknown is a film about a new kind of 'family'. Linked by their connection to a single sperm donor - 150 - parents and children are creating and navigating a new set of relationships. They are discovering first hand what a close biological connection to a stranger means for themselves and their identity. What happens next opens up some fascinating questions about nature and nurture, the responsibilities of parenthood, the moral integrity of the cryobanks, and the hazards of genetic inheritance. ...

  • Dreams and Sacrifices

    In Peru, each year in the month of June thousands of people come together at the pilgrimage site of the Lord of Qoyllur Rit'i at 4700 meters up in the mountains. Here, they dance to the Lord, the mountains and the Sun in order to beseech forgiveness for their sins, but also to ask for material objects. The film follows one of the dancers, Laura, who makes the pilgrimage for the first time. It shows the significance of making this dangerous and physically demanding pilgrimage and the sacrifices the pilgrims make to fulfill their dreams. ...

  • Familia

    Drawing on photographic and filmed material spanning over thirty years, Familia is a poignant documentary about a poverty-stricken Peruvian family trying to stay afloat in the midst of great difficulty. When mother Naty loses her job and is forced to look for employment in Spain, the other members of the family struggle to find a new balance in the absence of the matriarch. Beautifully shot, with startling access to each member of the family, the film unveils a delicate and multi-layered psychological landscape where time is crucial for the texture of the relationships unfolding between the stranded parents and their children, but also - less obviously but with significant consequences on the film's emotional texture - between the subjects and the film crew. An arresting portrait of the displacements wrought by poverty, Familia tells a story that is heartbreakingly relevant for today's Romania. ...

  • Family Portrait Black and White

    Olga Nenya is a foster mother to sixteen black orphans in Ukraine - where 99.9% of the population is white and where race DOES matter. Racist neighbors and skinheads' attacks keep the kids on constant alert. Olga is a loving mother but she is not exactly Mother Teresa, but more of a platoon leader. Some of the kids are obedient, others ae manipulative, and one dares to confront her. They call him „Mr. President" for his intelligence and effortless aristocratic air. The modern world is interconnected: not only did the British Charity buy the house for the family, The kids are familiar with other countries, as they have spent the summers with host families in Italy or France. When European families offer to adopt the kids, Olga refuses, although she is aware that life will not be easy for a black Ukrainian. This film is a multi-dimensional portrait of one family, the country they live in, and the bigger world they are a part of. ...

  • Father Arsenie Boca, A Man of God

    His colleagues at the Theological Academy of Sibiu named himThe Saint by; he is considered a founding father of the Romanian Philokalia by father Dumitru Staniloaie, who thought of him as an unparalleled phenomenon of Romanian monasticism; sought after and followed by thousands of believers eager to quench their spiritual thirst from his inexhaustible spring of serenity; legendary for his prophesying and healing gifts, painter of souls and painter of churches, man of culture, philosopher of sciences and religion, father Arsenie Boca was, just like Saint Basil as depicted by him in his essential work The Path of the Kingdom: a disciple calmly walking across the stormy seas, an unmoving pillar against the troubled waves, a man among people, providing guidance and strength with otherworldly serenity, unflinching in the belief that God alone is ruler of our world. An unequaled personality, a magnet for thousands of people in all walks of life, and also a target for suspicion for the authorities of his day, who failed to understand the source of his exceptional power to gather people around him. ...

  • Fish On!

    The Klamath River of Oregon and California is one of the most important salmon runs in the USA. While diminished over the past 100 years, it still supports an abundance of life and diverse economies struggling over its future course. This is a film about the Indian tribes of the river ecosystem - what the Klamath means to them and how they draw on traditional and modern resources to restore its strength, beauty and balance. The film focuses on the Klamath river and the Indian tribes of the lower basin - the Yurok, Hoopa and Karuk. Yet this story has implications for any number of river ecosystems and indigenous people around the world. Through the Indian tribes of the Lower Klamath, the film reminds us how the health of a people and the health of its lands are integrally linked. ...

  • Funeral Season

    Travelogue and ethnography meet in this comedic ghost story about a Canadian Jew wandering through an African culture where "the dead are not dead." Embarking on a road trip across Cameroon's most joyous funeral celebrations, the foreigner befriends his guides and becomes increasingly haunted by memories of his own ancestors. ...

  • Good Luck!

    The title of the film means „Good luck!" in the Gypsy language. It is also a common form of greeting between Gábor gypsies. In the beginning of the movie, Lali (a Transylvanian Gábor Gypsy) and Lóri (a Transylvanian Hungarian) have financial difficulties, so they decide to go to Austria for trading. This neo-realist comedy is actually a documentary feature road movie which tells the story of its two protagonists, who even find themselves in Egypt at some point. ...

  • Good morning, world! (Indonesia, India, Egipt, Oman, Australia, Peru, Siria, Bolivia)

    Qatar Population : 769 000 habitants Région : Moyen-Orient Capitale : Doha Langue principale : Arabe Religion : Islam Lieu de tournage : Les beaux quartiers de Doha Un petit matin sur Doha. Bienvenue au Qatar. Émirat de la péninsule Arabique, le Qatar est l’un des plus petits pays arabes par sa superficie comme par sa population. Grâce aux revenus du pétrole, ce pays est devenu un pays riche et les enfants sont les premiers a en profiter. Qui sont ces enfants qui grandissent dans les gratte-ciels de Doha ? Quelle éducation reçoivent-ils ? Les petits qataris partent-ils des uniformes comme dans les écoles anglaises ? Un chauffeur vient-il les déposer a l’école ...

  • Grown in Detroit

    In the last fifty years, one of the wealthiest cities in America has transformed into one of the most economically and socially challenged ones, due to the collapse of the automotive industry, increasingly high unemployment, race issues, high crime rates and decreased public services. Grown in Detroit focuses on the urban gardening efforts managed by a public school of 300, mainly African-American, pregnant and parenting teenagers. One of the fastest tracks toward becoming a high school dropout is to become a single mother: 90% of the girls who drop out of high school do so because they became a parent. For the principal of Catherine Ferguson Academy, this is simply unacceptable. She is determined to make sure that this generation of teen mothers will not lose a decade of their lives. At times both heart-warming and heart breaking, Grown in Detroit is a closely observed, inspiring and uplifting story about hope, the tenacity of the human spirit and 'going back to the roots'. ...

  • Home

    Internationally renowned photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand makes his feature directorial debut with this environmentally conscious documentary produced by Luc Besson, and narrated by Glenn Close. Shot in 54 countries and 120 locations over 217 days, Home presents the many wonders of planet Earth from an entirely aerial perspective. As such, we are afforded the unique opportunity to witness our changing environment from an entirely new vantage point. In our 200,000 years on Earth, humanity has hopelessly upset Mother Nature's delicate balance. Some experts claim that we have less than ten years to change our patterns of consumption and reverse the trend before the damage is irreversible. Produced to inspire action and encourage thoughtful debate, Home poses the prospect that unless we act quickly, we risk losing the only home we may ever have. ...

  • Home Alone - A Romanian Tragedy

    This is the story of over 350,000 Romanian children left "home alone". One or both their parents are working abroad, in Italy, Spain and other Western European countries, and the kids have been left in the care of relatives or even neighbours. Many of them attempted suicide, some succeeded. The film tells three stories of children who took their own lives. The observational style is mixed with interviews as the film weaves between the stories and their characters, the parents that opened their hearts in front of the camera and shared their profound grief but also their ideas about the causes of the tragedies. A sad film, urging to reflection about the our society, and about our children's needs, that go beyond mobile phones and expensive computer games. ...

  • Homo@Lv

    In the summer of 2005, an unprecedented event was organized in Riga - an LGBT parade. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people marched through the streets of the Latvian capital city. The organizers were following the example of similar LGBT parades in Western cities. Little did they know that their good intent would spiral into a chain of inconceivable events lasting for several years: families would be torn apart, jobs lost, the persons involved would be showered, in turn, with human excrement and holy water. And the great emotion stirred up would dramatically divide Latvian society. The filmmaker collected his material for this film for five years, to offer a comprehensive view on the event, and featuring the stories and opinions of both the supporters and the oponents of the parade. ...

  • How it's made. Episode 62, 68, 76, 82, 84, 114

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  • I Shot My Love

    Seventy years after his grandfather escapes from Nazi Germany to Palestine, Israeli documentary director Tomer Heymann travels to Berlin Film Festival where he meets German dancer Andreas Merk. Some time later, when Andreas decides to join Tomer in Tel-Aviv, he not only has to cope with a new partner obsessed with documenting his every single step, but also to manage the complex realities of social insertion as a German citizen trying to find his place in an Israeli family. I Shot My Love tells the personal but universal love story of an intense gay relationship unfolding against the backdrop of the challenges posed by larger family and national stories. An intimately told, richly textured, occasionally visceral account, the film unfolds as an exercise in raw honesty, which results in a rewarding, albeit at times uncomfortable viewing experience for the spectator confronted with the events taking place in front of Tomer's unrelenting rolling camera. ...

  • Imagine a School...Summerhill

    In 1997, Summerhill, the famous coed alternative boarding school, was threatened with closure by the British Labor Government because it refused to compromise its educational and social philosophy. The film follows a number of students from the ages of eleven to sixteen as they grow up and make important decisions about life and their education at the same time that they become involved in the legal and political fight to save their school. This is an extraordinary documentary about an exemplary school in England, in which the students, the staff and a few formidable barristers take on OFSTED (Office for Standards in Education) and Tony Blair's Labor Government to fight for its existence and the lifeblood of alternative education throughout the world. ...

  • Kapitalism - Our Improved Formula

    Let us imagine that Ceausescu returned 20 years after his overthrow and execution, and compared the condition of the country at the time he had left with its present state of affairs. Let us imagine the reaction of the former Communist dictator when learning that Capitalism in Romania was built by some of the people most near to him, and that - generally - the Romanians think only about money, cars and consumption. The proposal might seem absurd or funny - and so it is. Because what else is post communist reality after all? After the Eastern European countries joined the EU, our recipe for capitalism might be successful in other parts of the world. ...

  • Last Train Home

    ''I hardened my heart and left', says Chen Suqin in an attempt to explain her decision to leave with her husband, some fifteen years before, to work in the highly industrialized Guangdong region, leaving their two small children alone with their grandparents in a small farming village. Ever since, the only time the parents could see their children was during the Chinese New Year national holiday - the time of the biggest mass migration in the world, allegedly involving around 130 million Chinese citizens who plunge the country's train stations into chaos. Completed over several years in classic verité style, Last Train Home is an intimate and candid debut film which starts with the epic spectacle of the tidal wave of humanity struggling to make it to the trains, and draws us into the fractured lives of an emotionally estranged migrant family crushed by the dramatic changes sweeping contemporary China. ...

  • Lobotomy

    The Russian-Georgian war becomes the underlying subject of this film. How did it happen, that all one hundred and forty five million Russians underwent a lobotomy - a brain operation? Award-winning director Yury Khashchavatski uses the basis of the Russian-Georgian war to explore the methods and techniques that the Russian media uses to brainwash its citizens. ...

  • Love History

    Female descendants of Nazi perpetrators and followers talk about their family members and relate the stories to their own lives. In the process, the film remains in public space. Scandalous facts like the acquittal of Nazi criminals in Austria are listed more than told, while the camera is aimed at public buildings. The facts speak for themselves and do not need to be emphasized with stirring images. ...

  • Love Stories from Moscow 1993-2009

    In 2008, German filmmaker Christoph Boekel returns to Moscow to complete a film project he had started in 1993. His film follows seven characters close to him, they are family or friends. The filmmaker sketches small family protraits, telling about love stories, crossed ways, meetings and separations. The overall image is that of a fresco of Moscow intellectual circles in the context of the tremendous social, political, and economical change of the recent years. The parallel montage collates two worlds, the old and the new, populated by the same people, members of three generations. There is a personal approach, sentimental and contemplative, and the construction puts together matters, moods and testimonies of people bound to the author in a special relationship. The city appears gradually, in intermezzos showing places where time has erased the details, to leave an almost completely changed space, within which old structures have vanished and a new city has popped out. ...

  • Me, My Gipsy Family and Woody Allen

    A very intimate journey on the ending of nomadic life and on the difficulties of settling in a council apartment told in first person with irony and playfulness by a young Roma director (19) struggling to accept her origins. The documentary is, in a way, Laura Halilovici's personal diary. Through the memories of her grandmother that still lives in a temporary camp at risk of been evicted; family photographs and video recordings made by her father we will discover an unknown world that has seldom opened to strangers. According to the family's traditions she should be married already but is determined to continue fighting to achieve her dreams. A tale on challenging a disciminatory society, presenting a different, deeply personal, insight into Roma culture. ...

  • Men of Words

    "Men of Words" explores how an ancient tradition of exchanging poetry on the Arabian Peninsula is still used as a means to discuss contemporary social and political issues in Yemen. The film touches upon issues such as the social meaning of words in Yemen, circulation of the spoken word, and verbal art as a way to obtain freedom of speech in a country that faces a bleak future dominated by poverty and political instability. The film is structured around a typical qat chewing session in the South Yemeni highlands, where poetry is said aloud. Through the poems the viewer gains insight into some of the daily challenges in everyday life in Yemen, such as missing rain, regional politics, and love. ...

  • Metrobranding - A Love Story Between Men and Objects -

    While people in Western Europe were used to choose between hundreds of brands, the communist Romania used to have a different experience: all our life we lived with only one brand for each basic product. Imagine the importance that this "monobrands" could acquire for the lives of those who made them and for the lives of those who consumed them. Relaxa the mattress, Dragasani sneakers, Pegas the bicycle, Mobra the motorcycle, the Fieni bulbs and Ileana the sewing machine, which were once the stars of the Romanian golden era, are now becoming the characters of our film. We selected six brands with spectacular destinies. They appeared approximately at the same time, along with the socialist industrialization. As overnight towns were built around the factories producing these brands, they have become the objects of desire for the Romanian daily life and dreams. ...

  • Mosu's Dream

    A film about a member of an extinguishing species, the genuine dweller of a traditional countryside. People nicknamed Vasile Deac „Mosu", which means „old man" since he was a young man. As if to reinforce his nickname, he married the midwife of the village, the Romanian word for „midwife" being „Moasa". Throughout his life, he had many dreams and plans. One of them was to build a statue of Voivode Bogdan, the founder of the Province Moldavia. After 40 years, the statue is finally completed, but Mosu is still not satisfied. The last genuine dweller of traditional Maramures dreams on. ...

  • Mother Rome

    This is the story of a woman who couldn't recognize herself in the mirror. ...

  • No Entry, No Exit

    Karl D. should just leave. The house, the village, society in general. When the repeat sexual offender moves in with his brother Helmut and his family, the neighbors react immediately. They fear - for their children and their own safety. Karl has just served a 15-year prison sentence, and is still considered dangerous. While a jovial daily gathering forms on the street, Helmut's family threatens to fall apart under the pressure. Trapped in their own four walls, they have to face all the outside forces - the demonstrators, the local police and even the juvenile services, who consider taking Helmut's son out of the family. When the situation almost escalates, first dissonances appear among the demonstrators. ...

  • Odd Number

    Odd Number is a story of redemption set in South Africa's Cape Flats, a low lying area south west of Cape Town, a human dumping ground for Apartheid era's forced removals of 'black' and 'coloured' people from 1948 to 1993. During this time, hundreds of labelled 'non-whites' were forced from their homes into undeveloped, dusty pieces of land. With little or no education, and no existing infrastructure or local economy, these areas withered. For years the Cape Flats have been ravaged by gang violence, drugs and crime, as some of South Africa's poorest do what it takes to survive. ...

  • Odysseus' Gambit

    A gambit is a chess opening in which a player sacrifices a pawn with the hope of achieving a resulting advantageous position. The film follows Saravuth Inn, a Cambodian-American chess player who sacrifices himself in the hopes of finding a better position on the board of life. ...

  • Off the Beaten Track

    Off the Beaten Track chronicles one year in the life of Albin and his family of shepherds in the North of Transylvania. In direct cinema style, this documentary follows their day to day routines, and their struggle to adapt to a new world where traditions are gradually replaced by modern values. Since joining the EU, Romania has been facing, like several other Eastern European countries, the pressure of modern values, introducing in farmer's lives the cruel notion of competition, the temptation of migrating to the higher salaries abroad, and the marginalisation of locally produced food against industrial products. ...

  • One Way Round Trip

    Every year France expels around 10,000 Roma immigrants back to Romania. The Duduveica family were expelled after living in Boulogne-sur-Mer, Northern France, for three years. The father and the mother were hoping to find a job there while their children, 12 and 15 years old, got officially registered and attended school. Back in their poor Romanian village they dream of returning to France. After many adventures, their trip back ends on the French Riviera, where they eventually manage to settle and send their kids to school. Although the anti-Roma Policy of the French government still threatens them, the Duduveicas have won the battle for the time being. ...

  • Our School

    'Three Roma ("Gypsy") children from a small Transylvanian town participate in a project to desegregate the local school, struggling against indifference, tradition and bigotry with humor, optimism and sass. Shot over four years, OUR SCHOOL is a captivating, bitter-sweet and often funny story about hope and race. ...

  • Paradise Hotel

    25 years ago, at the outskirts of a provincial town in Bulgaria, the administration built a housing facility designed to picture the social „Paradise" - an impressive building which had all it takes, from parquet floors to intercom, the coveted hot water central, street lamps, benches under murmuring apple trees. Someone called the place Paradise Hotel - and the name stuck. But with the years the block gradually changed. The parquet disappeared. The water stopped. The lights went off. Now it is inhabvited by 1500 Roma people, and each of the inhabitants has a plan how to get back the dream of Paradise Lost. A documentary about panel integration, love, misery, and a lot of dreams, captures the contrasting way of life of the Roma community. At the fringe of the city and of society, they survive, dream, fall in love, and get married within their atypical paradise. The film is made with a detached, oniric approach, with takes it beyond the social topic. ...

  • Pig Business

    Pig Business charts the expansion of the giant US meat company Smithfield into Poland and Romania, where having bought ex-state farms for 'small dollars' it now dominates the industry. Animals are confined in narrow steel cages, scientists voice their anxiety that the overuse of antibiotics is leading to ever more diseases, neighbours are sickened by gasses from the toxic waste, local farmers cannot compete with the monopolistic competition and abandon their centuries-old farms. There are interviews with European bureaucrats and directors of taxpayer funded banks whose loans and subsidies support the expansion of factory farming at the expense of small family farms. Featuring Robert Kennedy Jnr, and leading politicians, the film shows us as consumers what are the realities of factory farming, and urges us to be sure that the pork, ham, bacon and sausages we buy have come not from factory farmed animals but from pigs raised on humane, healthy and sustainable outdoor farms. ...

  • Pink Saris

    ''What do women have but their tears?', asks Sampat Pal, Kim Longinotto's latest heroine caught in a struggle to abolish the social ills plaguing a country caught between ancient patriarchal traditions and a hesitant modernity. Longinotto's projects tend to be about women who take matters into their own hands. Sampat Pal of the Gulbai (Pink) Gang is one such heroine fighting in support of the rights of women, the banning of arranged marriages involving underage girls, and the abolition of India's taboos regarding intercaste marriage. Having been herself married at twelve, Pal has a personal record of abuse suffered, which makes her engage ferociously in other women's causes, virtually unable to compromise. Capturing in great detail a colorful albeit flawed character - foul mouthed, belligerent, and prone to megalomaniac outbursts -, Pink Saris is allegedly Longinotto's most dramatic film since the explosive Divorce Iranian Style (1998). ...

  • Position Among the Stars

    For 12 years, filmmaker Leonard Retel Helmrich has followed an Indonesian family from the slums of Jakarta. Just as in his previous two multiple award-winning documentaries THE EYE OF THE DAY and THE SHAPE OF THE MOON, in POSITION AMONG THE STARS, Retel continues to show us the underlying patterns of life in For 12 years, film maker Leonard Retel Helmrich followed an Indonesian family from the slums of Jakarta. Just as in the previous two multiple award-winning parts EYE OF THE DAY and SHAPE OF THE MOON, in the third part POSITION AMONG THE STARS, the maker continues to show us the underlying patterns of life in Indonesia. He presents that both literally and metaphorically with his revolutionary camera work. His intimate access to the Indonesian Sjamsuddin family provides viewers a microcosm depicting the most important issues of life in Indonesia today: corruption, conflict between religions, gambling addiction, the generation gap and the growing difference between poor and rich. ...

  • Queen Maria - Last of the Romantics, First Modern Woman

    '"I was barely seventeen when I came to you. I was young and ignorant, but very proud of my native country, and even now, I am proud to have been born an Englishwoman... but I bless you, dear Romania, country of my joy and my grief, the beautiful country which has lived in my heart." (Queen Marie of Romania) The film is conceived as a personal account. Fragments of the Queen's biography are interpreted by the acclaimed actress Maia Morgenstern, whose profile is projected on a background of archive footage and photographs. ...

  • Second Life

    A documentary about youngsters, and about their passion for computer games, which re-designs the way they spend their time, their perception of aggressiveness, and eventually their view of the world. Morricone, Bill Gates and Tarantino have arrived in a small village in Hungary. Can life be so surrealistic? Yes, it can, when virtual worlds where zou can load up real characters are at hand. ...

  • Songs from the Nickel

    Sirens, screams, laughter, singing, bartering: these are the sounds sweeping into the rooms of Downtown Los Angeles' old forgotten hotels. Their inhabitants' stories tell of lives lived on the margins. Some residents stay for a few months. Others have lived there for as long as 40 years. According to Charlie, the desk clerk at the King Edward Hotel, "you can be anything you want; you can do anything you want - and nobody gives a damn!" After all, we're on America's most notorious skid row, also known to old-timers as the Nickel. Director Alina Skrzeszewska also lived in one of the hotels for a year and a half, while shooting SONGS FROM THE NICKEL. The result is a strikingly intimate portrait of people living in this largely invisible community. ...

  • Spirits in Wood

    This film presents current forms of belief in spirits and souls using the evidence of cultural anthropology, folklore, psychology, history, and literature, without interpreting the phenomena, or passing final judgements. Spiritism and occultist activities are of American origin, but have made their way into the rural culture. The film goes beyond a classical ethnographic film, exploring the impact of the urban elite and mass culture on the traditional rural system of beliefs. ...

  • Submission-In defence of the unborn

    Submission is a documentary about the 'chemical society' - the society we have been building since the Second World War. Back then, humans used 1 million tonnes of chemicals per year; the figure today is 500 million tonnes. The chemical industry is the fastest-growing industry in the world. We use 100,000 chemicals every day, leaving out food additives. They are chemicals we are exposed to in our daily environments. softeners (phthalates), flame retardants (PBDE), surfactants (PFOS, PFOA) and so on. Submission: In defence of the unborn offers the testimony of renowned scientists on the growing chemical burden human bodies carry. Submission is a documentary about the 'chemical society' - the society we have been building since the Second World War. Back then, humans used 1 million tonnes of chemicals per year; the figure today is 500 million tonnes. The chemical industry is the fastest-growing industry in the world. We use 100,000 chemicals every day, leaving out food additives. They are chemicals we are exposed to in our daily environments. softeners (phthalates), flame retardants (PBDE), surfactants (PFOS, PFOA) and so on. Submission: In defence of the unborn offers the testimony of renowned scientists on the growing chemical burden human bodies carry. ...

  • Teodora Sinner

    Christian Orthodox nuns in a Romanian monastery call each other "little mother". They have given up the eartlhly life and all the traps that come with it, to be wedded to the Eternal Being. "God my sovereign, it is You I seek each and every morning. I hunger for You, and my body and soul tremble for You…" This is a film about the most beautiful among the „little mothers” her marriage to God. ...

  • The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu

    "After all, a dictator is simply an artist who is able to fully put into practice his egotism. It is a mere question of aesthetic level, whether he turns out to be Baudelaire or Bolintineanu, Louis XVI or Nicolae Ceausescu." says Andrei Ujica. During the summary trial that he and his wife were submitted to, Nicolae Ceausescu is reviewing his long reign in power: 1965-1989. It is an historical tableau that in its scope resembles American film frescos such as those dedicated to the Vietnam War. Edited using more than 1000 hours of footage from the National Archive of Films and from the National Romanian Television, the film covers 25 years of Nicolae Ceausescu's life, from 1965 when he ascended the highest position in the country until his fall in 1989. ...

  • The Call of the Mountain

    The story of a man who abandons his wife and eight-year-old son in Athens following the murder of his cousin in the White Mountains of Crete. Returning to the small, remote community where he grew up, Yiannis confronts his past and pledges to honour his cousin by tending the family herd. He struggles to carry on Ilias' calling, a dying tradition kept alive by a handful of isolated men, high on the barren mountainsides of Crete overlooking the Libyan Sea. ...

  • The Child Sex Trade

    Multi-award winning filmmaker Liviu Tipurita investigates paedophile rings and the pan-European trafficking of children. ...

  • The Corlat Valley

    There are several ethnic communities that live in Romania. In Brasov county, 87% of the inhabitants are ethnic Romanians. In Covasna county, 76% of the inhabitants are ethnic Hungarians. This is the story of a valley between Brasov and Covasna. A village there is being refused its right to identity; it has no name and it doesn’t exist on any map. Because most of the inhabitants in the valley are Roma, people call the place “Tziganie”. The Roma call this place “over the bridge”, and the authorities speak about the “village in the Corlat valley”. ...

  • The Last Violin

    Ivan, a Ruthenian mountain farmer, is a man of many talents. He plays several musical instruments, but the love of his life are his violins. He is also skilled in building jew's harps virtually out of nothing. On top of this, he is a witty and charismatic character. The Third Violin is the final part of a Ruthenian trilogy. It is an intimate portrait of a village in Maramures, where the filmmaker has spent many years, during which he acquired a deep knowledge of the place, and the friendship and respect of the people. ...

  • The Little Girls of Palmi

    In a small town alongside the Southern coast of Italy, some little girls compete to play the role of "Animella" - an annual religious procession. The winner shall be seated on a 30-meter-high machinery to portray the Holy Mary ascending to Heaven. The camera covers the events backstage, follows the young competitors and their parents, and describes the social context and the involvement of the local community in the revival of an old tradition of the Catholic Church. The young girls act like little stars of a bieauty contest, and the result is a mixture of kitsch, innocence and grandeur. ...

  • The New Saint

    'Yevgeny Rodionov was an ordinary young Russian soldier until he was taken prisoner in Chechnya, and killed because he refused to convert to Islam. Hence he was proclaimed a martyr and became an unofficial saint for many Russians. The life of Yevgeny's mother Lyubov underwent a radical change since people had sanctified her son. Unable to let go of her grief, she keeps his iconic memory alive with the support of Orthodox priests, biker gangs and the Russian army, which uses his legend as an example for young soldiers. While the saint's mother appears on TV shows, young cadets are preparing to sacrifice themselves and follow their hero's footsteps. ...

  • The Securitate Hunter

    'Marius Oprea digs out dead bodies. His nickname is the Securitate Hunter because he chases the former officers of the communist political police, called The State Security. Head of a team of young archaeologists, he travels through the country looking for the graves of some 10,000 Romanians who were executed by the Securitate without any trial at the beginning of the 1950s. Marius researches the Securitate archives, contacts the families of the victims, makes his own inquiry and then finds the mass graves of the partisans. The victims of the Securitate can share for the first time their stories with someone who really cares. Since the fall of communism, 20 years ago, Romania has been trying to turn the page of a bleak past. More than a tragic account about recent history this film is the story of a new generation with a new hope for their country. ...

  • The Shukar Collective Project

    'The film follows, in a challenging and unconventional visual style, the coming together and the evolution of the Shukar Collective phenomenon. Consequently, the founding members of the dancing bears group Shukar, Napoleon (43, vocal and barrel percussion performer), Tamango (67, vocal and spoon special effects performer), Clasic (29, vocal and percussion performer) as well as those who discovered them: DJ Vasile, Matze, Vlaicu Golcea, Dan Handrabur are talking for the first time about the rising and the breaking up of the group. ...

  • The Two of Us

    'This documentary is meant to make a breakthrough in the wall of people's prejudice and intolerance, by glancing into the lives of Cristi and George, two young men whose only "crime" is that they are deeply in love with each other. ...

  • The Wired Prut

    The line of barbed wire along the River Prut was meant to separate countries and people. The USSR on one side, Romania on the other. Between them, a line of barbed wire, crossing villages, gardens, orchards, graveyards, and the people's lives. It was put up 66 years ago and is still in position today, 20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Meanwhile, the poles rotted and the barbed wire turned into rust, but it is still there, like an ugly memory stinging people's hearts. ...

  • The World According to Ion B.

    The film follows in real life the dream of any man living on the streets: to one day become famous and leave behind a life of poverty, misery and humiliation. Ion Barladeanu is on his way to becoming an important contemporary artist, but in May 2008 he was still an anonymus tramp on the streets of Bucharest. ...

  • Thieves By Law

    "Thieves by Law" gives us access to three former heads of the Russian mafia, one of the most famous criminal organizations in the world. Director Alexander Gentelev reveals how these groups were formed ever since the Stalinist gulag's period during the '30s and continued to exist after 1990. The mobsters, who transformed into reputable businessmen, reveal intimate details on how they came to influence Russia's economy as it emerged from decades of Soviet rule, and how they used their vast wealth to build up a political base in a land that once treated them as common criminals. * Special screening ONE WORLD ROMANIA 2011 at ASTRA FILM FESTIVAL ...

  • Think Global, Act Rural

    What are the common points between the millions of landless workers of the plains of Brazil, a couple of microbiologists in France, the world's biggest organic plantation in Ukraine and Vandana Shina's experimental farms in India? Their struggle: a better soil quality and a wiser access to seeds.Their goals: agricultural self-sufficiency and a better use of limited resources. Multi-awarded filmmaker Coline Serreau, who started her career as a militant documentarist, returns to her grassroot techniques: she travels the world exploring the very concrete local solutions to the global ecological mess. ...

  • Tie Xi Qu: West of Tracks - Rails

    The third part, "Rails" narrows its focus to a single father and son who scavenge the rail yards in order to sell raw parts to the factories. With the factories closing however, their future suddenly becomes uncertain. ...

  • Tie Xi Qu: West of Tracks - Remnants

    The second part, "Remnants" follows the families of many of the workers in an old state-run housing block, "Rainbow Row." In particular, Wang focuses on the teenage children who concern themselves with their own lives but must also cope with their inevitable displacement as Tie Xi's factories continue to close down. ...

  • Tie Xi Qu: West of Tracks - Rust

    In West of the Tracks, filmmaker Wang Bing documents the slow, inevitable death of a massive industrial complex in northeastern China's Shenyang province. Between 1999 and 2001 he meticulously filmed the lives of the last factory workers, a class of people once promised glory during the Chinese revolution. Now trapped by economic change, the workers become deeply moving film heroes in this modern epic. The film is an engrossing portrait of Chinese society in transition. Cahiers du Cinema compares Wang Bing to the great Russian writers and calls his film "a masterful production, an open file on realism." The first portion, „Rust" follows a group of factory workers in three state-run factories: a smelting plant, an electric cable factory and a sheet metal factory. Workers at all three face sub-standard equipment, hazardous waste, and lack of safety precautions. Perhaps even worse, with the declining need for such heavy industry, the factories also face a constant lack of raw materials, leaving the workers idle and concerned for their future. ...

  • Today I Eat White Chocolate

    The documentary shows the dramatic efforts of those who desperately tried to cross the borders illegally trying to escape Ceausescu's oppressive regime (1965-1989). From all the miseries people were forced to endure, the worst was that they were deprived of the most precious thing for a human being, freedom. The documentary presents six terrifying testimonies, telling a story which was common to manz thousands of Romanians who made the life and death decision to escape the communist regime, to risk their lives and leave the country în search of a better life in a civilized world. ...

  • TVT (Lifelong Torture)

    Two brothers, Richard and Ferencz Hayek, tell the story of their life, the story of their family, the story of a continuous torture: their uncle - shot in the head by the communists, their 15 years old sister - raped and murdered also by the communists, themselves - harassed by their neighbors and by the post-revolutionary Romanian Police. The documentary listenes to their stories, in an attempt to make people understand and learn from their terrible experience. ...

  • Uncle Joh Still Has a Farm

    It's not economically rewarding to be a farmer in Norway today. And because of this, there aren't many full time working farmers left. This is a close and truthful portrait of a stubborn and special man in his sixties - who refuses to quit being a sheep-farmer, even though his bookkeeper told him to.That's why my Uncle still has a farm. ...

  • Underground Brotherhood

    This documentary revolves around the mines and miners of Valea Jiului. The series consists of four episodes of about 25 minutes each, developing four different views on the subject: the history of the mining area, the process of coal extraction, the hard life of the miners working under ground, and the filmmakers' personal experience while making the film. The documentary also attempts to offer a new perpective over the miners, who have been mispresented or only partially presented by the Romanian media over the past 20 years. It is a unique perspective over their life filmed mostly in the underground galleries of the mines. ...

  • Universities and Prisons

    Nicolae Margineanu has studied at the most important universities in Europe and the United States. With twelve psychology books published, he is recognized as one of Romania's most prominent psychologists. In 1948, Nicolae Margineanu was a one of the many convicts in the communist prisons. After a mock trial, he had been sentenced to twenty-five years of hard labour. Years of extreme suffering, humiliation and continuous attempt to annihilate his personality followed, during which the psychologist Nicolae Margineanu observed the impact of this terrible experience on the convict Nicolae Margineanu. After 16 years, when he was finally released, he declared that "…against maltreating and injustice, the only defense is a full and firm conviction in the final triumph of Trust and Justice." ...

  • Upstream Battle

    Hoopa, Yurok and Karuk native American tribes once owned a flourishing land, where big salmons gambolled in the clear waters of Klamath river (north California and Oregon). But the diking of these waters by the electricity company PacifiCorp lead to the decimation of the salmon population in the area. To native Americans, it is more than a food supply issue; it is an issue of faith. To their vision, the Creator meets their needs through these waters and these fish, the river being both their church and religion. On the other hand, the PacifiCorp agents claim to only "borrow" the water, to generate energy and then return it to the river. The filmmaker tries to objectively present the positions of both sides, and does not easily conceal his fondness for the Klamath tribes and their traditional life style. He explains, through images and the brilliant montage of the interviews, why we should not allow for this close to nature civilisation to disappear as a result of globalization. ...

  • Victoria

    Victoria is one of those communist projects of cities emerged out of nothing around an industrial plant. Designed to be a showcase of „socialist victory" is today a ghost city. All the inhabitants used to work at the chemical plant. After it was closed down, many people left the city. Attracted bz the oportunities offered to foreign investors, an American plant opened in the area, adding more toxines to the existing pollution of the place. The access roads to Victoria are burdensome. There is no railway, and the main road is 10-12 km away. When you enter the city, you see a monument, the letter V carved in stone. At the other end, the road does not lead anywhere. It simply desintegrates into paths that head to the Fărăgraş Mountains. ...

  • Village Without Women

    In the tiny backcountry Serbian village of Zabrdje, the men work hard and the women - are missing. Three brothers, Dragan, Zoran and Rodoljub, and their aging neighbor Velimir are all that remain of a once thriving community. The brothers live together in one house: no running water, no indoor plumbing, one room where all three sleep. This is gruff, bare basics living, hard, demanding, no luxuries. Zoran feels a woman is needed, but all the Serbian women have moved away. In nearby Albania there are more women than men. But the brothers fought in Kosovo against the Albanians. With this original approach and an easy going style, the film addresses serious social, cultural and anthopological issues, and offers a fresh look on the Balkan world. ...

  • Warsaw Available

    Ania, Gosia and Ilona live in villages located far away from each other. Ania wants to be a hairdresser, Gosia dreams of leaving her village where she seems to have no future prospects. Ilona just wants a better life for herself and her little son. All three of them decide to come to the "big city" and change their lives. Warsaw means a better life. A life they only know from television. They go on a journey hoping to find a better place to live. Each on of them is a different person but they share the same dream. The construction is eliptical, and highlights short, but significant, moments of the fears, hopes, and excitement of the three characters facing the same adventure. In the background, there are glimpses of a society still in a transitional condition. ...

  • Women on Canvas

    Three women guards.The film discovers their thoughts, sadness and their own micro world in this huge palace museum. ...

  • Z32

    An Israeli ex-soldier who participated in a revenge operation where two Palestinian policemen were murdered seeks forgiveness for what he has done. His girlfriend does not think it is that simple, she raises issues he is yet not ready to address. The soldier willingly testifies for camera as long as his identity is not exposed. While the filmmaker keeps looking for the proper solution for concealing the soldier's identity he questions his own political and artistic conduct. ...